Johnson demonstrates what happens when leaders from both sides of the political aisle come together

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Op-Ed by David Lubar

Wisconsin-made machinery, equipment and products are sold throughout the world, including to markets in China, Japan, Canada and Mexico. The largest portion of Wisconsin’s economy is based on manufacturing and international trade. Consequently, our state is directly affected by the trade laws created and implemented in our nation’s capital. This also means that gridlock in D.C. directly and negatively impacts our Wisconsin economy.

But last week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) demonstrated what can happen when leaders from both sides of the political aisle come together in Washington.

As the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Johnson hosted a hearing with former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Gov. Jon Huntsman, Loews Corp. co-chair and President Andrew Tisch and Merchants Metals CEO Andrea Hogan. Each of these speakers were representing No Labels, a non-profit pursuing a truly bipartisan approach to politics. Advocating for teamwork in politics to accomplish specific long-term goals in lieu of the entrenched partisan attitudes that currently govern — or restrain — our nation, these witnesses unveiled a new plan for governing: the National Strategic Agenda.

The National Strategic Agenda urges our lawmakers to rise above a pledge to a political party and instead pledge to work together for the good of the country — the whole country, not just those citizens who share the same political inclination.

I am encouraged that Johnson, a successful businessman-turned-politician, along with other leaders from both political parties, recognized the need for this hearing and collaborative approach. With the various and diverse industries that fuel our nation’s economy, the deeply rooted partisanship in Washington stands in the way of our entrepreneurship, of our industry and of our success. Our economy cannot thrive without support from Congress, and unless members of Congress embrace the need to work together on behalf of our collective well-being, the success of our respective local, state and national economies will be forever limited.

The National Strategic Agenda promotes a fundamental business concept that readily translates to the world of government: There is no success without a sound plan to accomplish stated goals. We must require a plan from our leaders to tackle our nation’s toughest issues, such as the economy, education, health care and employment in order to create sustainable success for our nation and our citizens. Neither party can single-handedly solve the many issues our country faces and neither party has a monopoly on good ideas.

I applaud the efforts of No Labels in bringing our politicians together, and Johnson for his leadership in exercising collaborative politics in our nation’s capital. The implications of this hearing could have a profound impact on Wisconsin’s economy, and the expanded practice of collaborative politics in Washington could have an even more profound impact on our nation’s economic well-being.