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Odd Wisconsin Archive

The State of the State


This week Gov. Doyle will present the annual “State of the State” address and legislators will begin fashioning remedies to what they see as our most pressing problems. As 2005’s priorities emerge, Odd Wisconsin will occasionally shed light on how other leaders in other times faced the same challenges. As French journalist Alphonse Karr put it when Wisconsin was young, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." (the more things change, the more they stay the same). For example, in 1861 Milwaukee’s deficit caused the city’s credit rating to plummet so low it couldn’t buy an American flag; it even had to lay off police officers. And Gov. Doyle is of course the latest in a long line of Wisconsin chief executives to face crises. The careers of his first 17 predecessors are reviewed in this 1887 Wisconsin State Journal article. There was even a time when our state briefly had two governors at the same time. The truly hardy can find all the State of the State addresses by Wisconsin governors, 1853-1902, among the Society’s digitized materials on the UW's digital collections Web site. Other readers will want to stay tuned to Odd Wisconsin to see how earlier generations in the Badger State coped with taxes, wars, health care, education, and moral controversies.
:: Posted in Curiosities on January 8, 2005
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