The People's Agenda

Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Quality of Life in Wisconsin


 Mike Theo & Wood Communications  |    September 03, 2004
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In the summer of 2002, the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association launched an extensive campaign to protect and enhance the quality of life in Wisconsin. The first half of the initiative was to survey Wisconsin homeowners on a broad range of issues related to homeowners’ quality of life in a number of areas, ranging from taxes to personal safety to healthcare.

“The People’s Agenda” – is a comprehensive outline of what Wisconsin residents consider the most important issues impacting the quality of life in our state. This “agenda” offers policy makers, the media and the general public an excellent overview of what ordinary citizens want from their local and state officials over the next several years.

The People’s Agenda grew organically from the WRA’s Quality of Life initiative, a program intended to give ordinary citizens a clear voice, and elected officials a clear roadmap, on how to improve the quality of life in Wisconsin. We asked hundreds of questions in our numerous polls, and what emerged is a clear pattern of mutual concern, agreement and interest. The results and recommendations are fascinating.

What emerged from the WRA’s quarterly surveys is that the people of Wisconsin tend to focus on their quality of life at home, at work and in their community. Working from those findings, we categorized the results into how to preserve, protect and promote Wisconsin’s quality of life in each area.

The WRA intends to share this information with state candidates up for election this November. After the election, we intend to develop many of these goals into actual legislation. It is our intent to convert the desires of ordinary citizens into a legislative agenda that focuses on what Wisconsin residents feel affects the quality of life in their state. Together, we all have a stake in making Wisconsin great and together we will.

For more information, contact Michael Theo (mtheo@wra.org) or Bill Malkasian (wem@wra.org).

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Nearly two years after the first statewide survey of Wisconsin residents gave us our first serious look at what really contributes to the quality of life in our state, the data collected in multiple surveys has enabled the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) Wisconsin Quality of Life initiative to produce a Quality of Life Agenda that gives our citizens a voice and our elected officials a clear roadmap.

The WRA Quality of Life initiative was established to provide citizens with an ongoing opportunity to let policy makers and their elected representatives know how they feel about the quality of life in Wisconsin. Over the past two years, project researchers have asked hundreds of questions in multiple surveys, and what has emerged, they say, are clear patterns of mutual concern, agreement and interest.

WRA staff and researchers from Wood Communications Group carefully analyzed all the data from the four surveys before creating the Agenda. The group looked at every single number and concluded that the people of Wisconsin tend to focus on their quality of life at home, at work and in their community. Working from that finding, researchers went back to the data to find out what the people thought needed to be done to preserve and protect Wisconsin's quality of life in each area.

As the researchers and WRA project directors worked, the huge jumble of data slowly evolved into a clear set of public directives. People working on the project remember thinking that one minute they were sitting there with thousands of numbers and the next they had a clear public voice saying here's what the people want done to preserve their quality of life at home, or here's what they want done to protect their quality of life at work.

The final product of this exhaustive and extensive research and analysis process is the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association Quality of Life Agenda. This publication provides a brief overview of the people's concerns and priorities. The enclosed CD-Rom provides more detail, explanation and data. And, interested parties are encouraged to visit the Wisconsin REALTORS® Quality of Life website at www.qualityoflife.wra.org for a closer look at the survey questionnaires and responses.

...at home
91% of Wisconsinites report that it is important to make sure that housing in Wisconsin is affordable.

Wisconsin homeowners and renters have three priorities when it comes to preserving their quality of life at home. First, preserve the affordability of housing. Second, maintain the high quality of local services like police and fire protection. Third, and perhaps hardest to quantify, preserve ambience-the feel and look of their neighborhoods.

...in the community
95% of Wisconsin residents believe it is important to help existing Wisconsin businesses remain healthy.

Wisconsin residents tend to see their communities as extensions of their neighborhoods. Preserving quality of life at the community level involves many of the same things that are important to them at home. Local ambience, high-quality local services and personal safety are important at home and in the community. They also want to preserve reasonable access to shopping and entertainment and want to maintain the identity and uniqueness of the places they live.

 

...at work
98%report that it is important to make high-quality community services as affordable as possible in order to preserve their quality of life in their community.

Preserving the quality of life at work, means keeping Wisconsin's existing businesses here and helping them stay healthy. Citizens know that our top-notch workforce is essential to the state's future economic vitality, and they want to preserve Wisconsin's reputation for skilled, productive workers. For that reason, they believe it is important to maintain and continue to improve Wisconsin's educational and training systems.

 

 

...at home
68% believe it should be an urgent or high priority for their elected officials to avoid policies and legislation that can increase costs for homeowners.

Wisconsinites are concerned about the cost of owning and operating their homes. In order to protect their quality of life at home, therefore, they oppose initiatives that might increase the cost of owning a home or that decrease a family's disposable income. More specifically, they want their leaders to keep taxes down and seek alternative sources of funding for education. They believe Wisconsin should support economic development in order to expand the tax base.

...in the community83% believe we should avoid legislation that increases the cost of doing business in Wisconsin.

Wisconsinites think good planning will help protect the quality of life. They want elected officials to sustain the local services they need, but they want them to hold the line on the cost of those services. They also want them to expand the tax base and support rehabilitation of neighborhoods and business areas.

...at work
90% of Wisconsin residents believe it is very important to make sure people are safe in order to protect their quality of life in their community.

When it comes to protecting the quality of life at work, Job #1 is not to increase the cost of doing business in Wisconsin. Residents want regulatory and tax reforms and think we need to encourage and support career education and training programs. They also support more research and development initiatives for businesses.

 

 

...at home74% believe that it should be an urgent or high priority, for the quality of life at home, for their elected officials to support programs that will encourage economic development.

Wisconsinites want to promote the quality of life at home by removing existing barriers to homeownership and resisting new ones. In addition, they believe we must support development of adequate housing stock.

...in the community
63% of residents believe that it should be an urgent or high priority for their elected officials to encourage careful community planning.

Wisconsin residents see the quality of life in their communities being directly affected by the health of the local economy. They think the best way to promote quality of life is to engage in good planning and expand the tax base.

...at work
80% report that it should be either an urgent or a high priority for their elected officials to make sure that Wisconsin has a high-quality work force.

Wisconsin leaders want to attract more venture capital and new economy jobs to the state. They know that to do that, we must support economic development initiatives and regulatory and tax reforms that will encourage businesses to locate in our state.

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