States in the State of the Union Address (Prof. David Helpap)

Hello everyone and welcome! My name is David Helpap and I am an Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at UWGB. The focus of my teaching and research is primarily on state and local governments, with a specific focus on the management of local governments and the services they provide citizens. Recently, I have been interested in the opportunities and challenges that face rural local governments, in particular. I regularly teach courses on state and local government, public policy analysis, public and nonprofit budgeting, and regulatory policy.

Like most folks, I expect that President Biden will give significant attention to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. foreign policy response to the war. On the domestic front, the President will most certainly highlight his recent and historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, update the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic, and address concerns about inflation.

While these international and national policy topics and developments will almost certainly be given priority in the address (and for good reason), there also should be some portions of the speech that will directly apply to state and local governments across the country. For example, the recently passed $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure law will send much needed money directly to state and local governments for long overdue repairs to the nation’s infrastructure, including in Wisconsin. Other issues that could be addressed include climate change, voting rights, gun control, and reproductive rights—policy areas that states, in particular, have been on the forefront in terms of policy changes and new legislation. Finally, this will probably be the most prominent occasion for the President to address the nation prior to the 2022 midterm elections. His discussion will have the potential to set the tone for congressional races, but also for gubernatorial races in several politically important states that include Michigan, Pennsylvania and, of course, Wisconsin. Governor Evers will likely be giving careful consideration to the address and considering the implications for Wisconsin and his own upcoming reelection efforts.

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