We the People: Introduction

LA CROSSE, Wis.-- News 8 and News8000.com are kicking off a new monthly series called "We the People Wisconsin: Economy 2012." For the next several months, we'll be partnering with a number of news organizations around the state to bring you a closer look at how different people around the state are dealing with the challenging economic times.

Each news organization has been assigned a person who was selected to participate in the "We the People" project.  They'll be interviewed every month to get their thoughts on key issues in the upcoming election.

News 8 and News8000.com will be following Palmer Hoffland from Viroqua.  Here's some background on Palmer:

Just outside the rural farming community of Viroqua is where 71 year old Palmer Hoffland and his wife, Martha, have called home for the past 28 years. The high school sweethearts grew up together. "We were actually neighbors, lived right around the corner from each other," says Palmer.


Palmer, a retired bank executive and Martha a homemaker for the majority of her life, have two grown children and four grandchildren. Palmer says the problems facing the country are just too big this time around to sit back and do nothing. Palmer says, "I think a very difficult and challenging time not only for the politicians, it's bad enough for them, but I think for the guys who are voting, you and me, how do you sort through all that's being said."

Palmer considers himself an independent voter, but one that definitely tends to lean more toward the Republican side, both fiscally and socially. The politician that has the right idea is the one I'd probably go with, well they tend to be more conservative in that right idea," says Palmer.

It's no surprise then that this retired banker says debt issues especially on the federal level are at the top of his concerns right now. "It does bother me just terribly that they just don't want to face up to this debt crisis. I don't see any attempt by either party to try to work this out. It's them against us. One proposes something, the other shuts it down and they don't seem to understand they're representing us, not their party."

But Palmer is not so much concerned about himself and his wife, it's his children and grandchildren who could be forced to shoulder the debt down the road. "You hear a lot of talk about we may have seen the last of a generation that has it better than their parents and you're seeing a lof of evidence of that today. I know how difficult it has to be to change those things, but the change has to happen. I'm on Social Security, I'm on Medicare. I know there has to be changes there."

He's hoping the  "We the People" project will give a louder voice to some of his concerns. "I do have issues with things that are going on and I thought, well, probably this is a group I can now give my input and it might get spread a little bit further or at least if this "We the People" is going to try to do a cross-section, I can be sure some old conservative guy's opinion is in there in the mix."

To read about more of the participants in the project, go to www.wtpeople.com.

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