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You (Yes, You) Can Make A Difference In Bringing A New Arena To Milwaukee

Just pick up the phone and dial.

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

(UPDATE: The bill has passed the state senate and is expected to come before the state assembly on Tuesday, July 28.  All of this stuff still applies, but you don't need to contact your state senator any more.)

Nearly two weeks ago, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, alongside Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, introduced his official, lock-it-in plan to fund a new downtown arena in Milwaukee.

That plan has yet to reach either the Wisconsin State Senate or State Assembly for a vote, either as an individual bill or as part of the official state budget.  This is where you, as a Wisconsin resident, come in.

STEP 1) Figure out your State Senator and State Assemblyperson.

This is simple enough.  Go here -> http://legis.wisconsin.gov/ and right there on the right hand side is a "Find My Legislators" box.  Type in your street address and city, and BOOM, you get your senator, your assemblyperson, and their phone numbers and email addresses.

STEP 2) Politely contact your representatives.

This is where I step aside and let Save Our Bucks explain how to do this, as they've already put a lot of time and effort into figuring out the best way to make these phone calls/write these emails.

Here are the ground rules:

Be extremely polite and respectable. We want Bucks fans to represent themselves in the classy way we know you can. Put your political leanings aside when you make these calls. We are all united as Bucks fans on this issue. Even if the legislator you are contacting does not support the proposal, work to try to convince them and let them know you appreciate their time. If you become angry or belligerent it will not help our cause, as then you become the issue to the legislator or staffer and not the arena proposal.

What Do I Say When I Call?

Here is a suggested protocol for each call you make:

Staff Person: Hello?

You: Hi, my name is ____________, I am a voter and I live in Wisconsin.  I would like to be able to publicly provide some feedback to Legislator ____________ regarding the proposed Milwaukee Bucks arena.  Are you the right person to speak with?

Staff Person: Yes, what are your thoughts?

You: What is Senator/Assemblyman’s _____________ position on State funding for the new Milwaukee arena?

Wait for their answer and follow up with this line (or something similar)

You: I would like Legislator ___________ to know that I strongly support the State budget proposal authorizing the new Bucks arena. This proposal makes great economic sense for the State and I would like Legislator __________ to vote FOR this proposal and for it to be contained in the new State budget.  Again, my name is _____________ (If you live in their district, please note that as well)

Staff Person: I will relay your concerns to the Legislator.  Thank you.

That’s all it takes. A two-minute phone call. If you want to expound further on how much the Bucks mean to you and how it would be a travesty to blow this opportunity and allow the team to move to say Seattle, by all means do so. But again be polite, clear and concise.

What if I want to Email these representatives?

Email is helpful, but remember that email also tends to get lost in the shuffle since it is so easy to send. Think about how much spam email you get in your own inbox and how important messages may get lost. Staffers may have a harder time sorting and quantifying emails versus phone calls.

Nonetheless, for those emailers, here is a suggested email for you to send:

Dear Legislator __________,

I am a citizen of the State of Wisconsin and reside in your district (optional if they are your rep).

I am strongly in favor of the new Milwaukee arena funding proposal and would like to see it included in the upcoming State budget. This proposal makes fiscal sense for the taxpayers of the State and we certainly do not want to lose the Bucks!

Please let me know what your position is on this issue.

Thank you

(Name/Address)

There you go.  It's that simple.  Save Our Bucks has done the math on how things are going in Madison, and they've figured out that it is best for the funding proposal to be included in the budget, so it is important to mention to your reps that you want to see that.

In case you were wondering about the effectiveness of these phone calls, well, there's this:

If you find yourself with a few extra moments of free time, may I recommend calling the representatives that are a part of the Joint Committee On Finance?  They're the ones in charge of deciding what ends up in the budget that makes it to the Senate and Assembly floors for voting, so it's worth it to call them for that purpose.

Remember: if the new arena doesn't get built, the Bucks will leave town.  If the Bucks leave town, Marquette will be playing games in the Bradley Center for the next several decades.  While this isn't the worst thing ever, the BC is already millions of dollars behind on maintenance and repairs.  On top of that, head coach Steve Wojciechowski will lose the recruiting benefit of having NBA teams practice at the Al McGuire Center on a regular basis, not to mention the benefit of telling prospects that MU plays in an NBA arena.

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