Experience of the Wisconsin State

Experience of the Wisconsin State

We have interviewed Lena Taylor - Wisconsin State Senator.

Interviewed by Mariam Patatishvili

16000 NGOs are registered in Georgia. But in fact, only 2000 of them are operating at present. What about Wisconsin? What’s the role of non profits in the state?

Lena Taylor - I don’t know the number operating in US. But non profits are very important component of our society. They help to do what government cannot always do. They help to provide services to people in the community, educate people in the community, they are very important part of our society. 

How do they cooperate with the government?

Lena Taylor - Non profits contract with the government to provide services. For example, we have organization called "Social Development commission”. They do contracting with the state to help to provide work training, to help to determine people are eligible for different services. And they even provide child care services. We pay non profits to provide services. Sometimes they have very big contracts, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes millions, depending on non profits.

Do Non profits facilitate the participation of citizens? Civic engagement? 

Lena Taylor - Most definitely. They are close to citizens, even more than government. They are dealing with people, on day to day bases. And making sure that various issues that people have are answered. So yes, they do.

You had meeting with NGO’s, got information about sector’s activities. What kind of advice would you give them and what experience could you share from them? 

Lena Taylor - I encourage them to be to be resource helpful to the parliament, to show them that they provide good services and they get outcomes that help the parliament to help people. And they have to work together; one NGO isn’t strong as a group of NGOs. It was just very encouraging for me to see type of services, and there was one gentlemen that stood out for me he was strong fighter for women’s rights and I said he is a feminist, he is a very strong men for women’s rights and he was admitted there need to be more women in parliament, more women in important roles and government and in society. It was good to see that there are organization doing that kind of work and I would be able to connect with them. 

Youth parliament was very encouraging. We don’t have youth parliament in Wisconsin. And it was encouraging to see the youth parliament, to see so many young women in the youth parliament. It was exciting to see their work youth parliament had already done to have a directive fact on the laws that are being made in the country. And I encouraged them to do volunteerism work with the parliament. To be a connection between people and government. To help to make it be more transparent and more open. So people would be able to share their concerns and people would be able to get answers from their government and from their elected officials. And they also played a part in doing a meeting with me at the university and I encouraged them to do that even more and to invite their parliament to come to the meetings like they did with me. 

How does your office cooperate with the sector? Do they offer a better service? Is there a high degree of confidence?

Lena Taylor - There is in a high degree of confidence in the services non profits offer and in the collaboration that we do together with legislators offices. Because its being going on for long time. But some non profits don’t have credibility because they have got money and didn't do good services or didn't document to the services they did. So it looks like they took money and used it in way they shouldn't. So one of the things that I spoke about with non profits was importance of to do good work and show outcomes of work they did in order to have good credibility.

How do you use electronic media to communicate with society? 

Lena Taylor - It has such a huge role in everything I do, because of email, facebook, twitter just every way I couldn't function if there wasn't technology and those methods to communicate. I have hundred and 16 thousand constituencies in my districts. If I have to go each of them individually it would take a long time, I would never get to everybody. But when I’m able to use different kind’s mechanism like facebook twitter email. I’m able to get to them a greater number to people who I want to inform about various issues. I would encourage members of parliament to do the same. Because everybody has cell phones you can text. There always will be people some people you have to go to the door, there will be people you can get by letter. But you can get so many people if you will use technology.

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