AR-News: (U.S. - Wisc.) state reconsiders cheesy image
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Mon Oct 13 07:53:43 EDT 2003
Letters: forum at greenbaypressgazette.com
STATE PUTS ITS IMAGE UNDER MICROSCOPE
Green Bay Press-Gazette, Tom Perry, Oct. 12, 2003
Maybe the disenchantment has been for there for years, simmering slowly. But
in the past few weeks, it seems, the idea of putting some distance between
Wisconsin and its cheesehead image is gathering steam.
Consider, for example, that a panel commissioned to recommend the design for
the states commemorative quarter picked history over hay. The panel did
this after thousands of people voted on the Internet for a design featuring
a cow, a wheel of cheese and corn. Gov. Jim Doyle played his trump card,
though. He rejected the panels choice, selecting the agriculture theme for
the quarter, which will be minted in October 2004. Doyles decision didnt
trigger a controversy. Nor is there likely to be a ruckus next year when the
Wisconsin quarter is circulated.
But the fact that a panel walked away from the agricultural image is
Just as interesting is the discussion that took place a few weeks ago.
Participants at a branding-Wisconsin luncheon spent a great deal of time
discussing the best image for the state to project to the rest of the world.
Panelists agreed that Wisconsin needs a more broadly encompassing image,
which would aid the state in attracting business, tourists and investment,
this newspaper reported.
OK, so thoughtful individuals are likely to agree that theres a lot more to
Wisconsin than dairy. Whats more, the fact of the matter is that
California, not Wisconsin, is Americas dairyland, if you want to get
technical about it.
But lurching forward in another direction should only be done after some
careful consideration. Rep. Steve Wieckerts idea to study the issue has
some merit. The Appleton Republican has introduced a bill that would fund a
feasibility study to weigh the costs and benefits of creating a national
brand image for Wisconsin. As states compete
I think its important that
Wisconsin establish its own identity, Wieckert said. We have to play to
our strengths. We have to identify whats true and factual.
Quality of Life
What seems true and factual about Wisconsin, at least to me, is that it is a
nice place to live with good schools and a lot of nicer-than-average people.
The winters can be harsh and taxes are higher than in most in states. But
the quality of life at least in Northeastern Wisconsin is better than other
states where Ive lived, largely because you dont have to spend an hour a
day sitting in traffic.
To some, the idea of using congestion as a yardstick to measure quality of
life may seem odd. But torturously slow daily commutes back and forth to
work are a fact of life in a lot of places in this country. Its hard to
imagine that crawling in traffic five days a week would be anyones idea of
quality time. Of course, every time a farm disappears and another suburban
subdivision sprouts up, it diminishes Wisconsins agricultural calling card.
So maybe disenchantment isnt completely to blame for growing distance
between the state and its cheesehead image. Perhaps its the fact that some
people think those cheeseheads look silly, while other people recognize
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