Friday, September 4, 2009

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton on Innovative Approaches to Wisconsin's Economy; SCFL's Jim Cavanaugh; Guest Co-Host Lisa Subeck

On the Sept. 3, 2009 edition of Forward Forum:

At the top of the show, Jim Cavanaugh, president of the South Central Federation of Labor, joins us with a preview of Monday's Labor Day activities, and his observations regarding the state of the labor movement in today's world. See .

More than 20 people representing 11 union affiliates (AFSCME, BAC, CWA, IBEW, IRON, IUPAT, OPCMIA, SCFL, SEIU, SMWIA, UA) rallied outside a Madison, Wisconsin gas station last year to draw attention to the Bush policies that created $4 a gallon gas. (Pictured third from right is guest Jim Cavanaugh.)

Then, in an interview I recorded on Friday, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton joins us for a wide-ranging interview that focuses on innovative ways to build Wisconsin's economy. Beginning with her cogent analysis about why Wisconsin's workforce is viewed as having many special strengths by employers worldwide, she also describes that potential for Wisconsin's leadership in the realm of the green revolution, specifically for biofuels and energy conservation. She then explains how Wisconsin's "creative economy," -- one that thrives in an atmosphere of diversity and a commitment to supporting the arts-- is exactly the kind of environment sought by entrepreneurs and high-tech industries seeking a new home. Lastly, she explains the need for Wisconsin to tackle the problems associated with maltreatment of mental illness as underlying the economic costs behind our growing prison population. All this and much more about her philosophy of government, business and community, from the woman who could very well be our state's next governor.

Lieutenant Gov. Lawton (center) is pictured with actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Billy Burke in Milwaukee for the filming of the pilot episode of "The Watch."

Read this essay by WTDY's John "Sly" Sylvester who believes that Barbara Lawton should be Wisconsin's next governor.

Guest host Lisa Subeck has been both an avid listener and frequent guest on the show, and it's an honor to have her join us as guest host this week. Well-known as a political commentator and activist on behalf of homeless people and others facing difficult times due to poverty and discrimination in Madison, Lisa's newest role is an advocate for reproductive rights, in her role as executive director of NARAL (the National Abortion Rights and Action League). Lisa is also an avid film and popular media buff, and aspires one day to host her own talk show, so it will be fun to share the air with her on Sunday.

This week's show takes on a bittersweet quality. After five years on the air, half on our current station, it's our last Forward Forum on WTDY, at least for a few months. At a station in an industry that's in transition and distress due to the economic downturn, we were told that the decision was made to make room for football on Sunday afternoons. Kind words were exchanged about the quality of the show, and the door may be open to the Forward Forum's return early next year, following the football season. Regardless, we've risen from the ashes before, and we hope to rise again.

If the show has made a difference for you, I'd love to hear from you. Especially if you'd like to see the show continue in some form, please write to us at, and we'll fill you in on ways that you can help in those efforts. In weeks to come, special efforts will be made to build upon this blog including podcasts featuring highlights from past shows. In the meantime, I'll be doing some guest-hosting at the award-winning listener-sponsored WORT, and blogging and writing elsewhere in the community, while pursuing multiple future avenues for continuing to bring voice to the many voices that made their home on Forward Forum. Take care, best wishes, and see you all soon! --John