Policy

Wisconsin Potawatomi leader calls for bipartisanship in 2024 State of Tribes speech

James Crawford, chair of the Forest County Potawatomi, delivered the 2024 State of the Tribes address in the Wisconsin Assembly, calling on state lawmakers and other leaders to search for bipartisan solutions to problems including human trafficking and affordable housing.

Associated Press

February 22, 2024

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James Crawford speaks into a microphone while standing behind a wood podium and facing two teleprompter mirrors, with Robin Vos and others seated behind him in high-backed leather and wood chairs on a legislative dais, with a taxidermy bald eagle on display above a wall with wood paneling and carved crests and below a large painting with a gilt frame.

James Crawford, chairman of the Forest County Potawatomi tribe, calls for bipartisanship during the State of the Tribes speech on Feb. 22, 2024, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. (Credit: AP Photo / Scott Bauer)


AP News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The leader of the Forest County Potawatomi tribe on Feb. 22 called on Wisconsin lawmakers and other state leaders to search for bipartisan solutions to problems including human trafficking and affordable housing.

James Crawford, chair of the Potawatomi, delivered the annual State of the Tribes address in the Assembly chamber. In addition to Assembly members, other attendees included leaders from the state’s 11 other federally recognized tribes, state senators, Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, Attorney General Josh Kaul and Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski.

“Despite our differences, Wisconsin’s tribes and our states leaders can and must continue to collaborate and work together for the greater good,” Crawford said.

He thanked lawmakers for working to increase Medicaid reimbursements for tribes, ensure access to indigenous foods, and pass bills designed to increase affordable housing and make foster care more attractive and affordable.

“There is still much more than needs to be done,” Crawford said. “Find the time to set aside your differences and not be afraid to reach across the aisle.”

He specifically called on the Legislature to do more to address the problem of human trafficking in tribal communities, while thanking Kaul for forming a task force on the issue.

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