Public Attitudes in the Chicago Megacity: Who are we, and what are the possibilities?

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Public Attitudes in the Chicago Megacity: Who are we, and what are the possibilities?
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Join us the morning of Tuesday, July 28, beginning at 8 a.m., as Marquette Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel host a conference examining public attitudes in the Tri-State Region, and what they reveal about the emerging “Chicago Megacity.” The event will feature the release of a new Marquette Law School Poll, which under the direction of Prof. Charles Franklin has surveyed more than 1,800 residents in 21 counties in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin on a variety of issues. The poll will highlight common and sometimes conflicting views of the region and the degree to which citizens view our fortunes as linked. Should the three states collaborate on transportation or tourism? Should politicians look out for their own state first? Respondents also talk about their work lives, the preparation for their careers, and their willingness to take economic risks. The poll’s findings will then be discussed by a distinguished group of panelists, who will use the results as a foundation for a larger conversation about the region’s challenges and opportunities. The Marquette Law School Poll has received national acclaim over the past three years for its accurate capturing of public opinion in Wisconsin, and this marks the first time that the poll has surveyed more than Wisconsin residents.

The topic is important. Chicago is recognized as a global hub for commerce and finance. But in 2012, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a major report, arguing that closer ties between the Milwaukee area, Chicagoland, and northwest Indiana are crucial to improving the economic fortunes of the region—i.e., the emerging “Chicago Megacity.” This forum, following up on the megacity conference sponsored by Marquette Law School and the Journal Sentinel in 2012, will advance our understanding of how citizens of the region view the opportunities and challenges on both a personal and a regional basis. Conference participants will include the following:

  • Ellen Alberding, President of the Joyce Foundation
  • Tom Barrett, Mayor of the City of Milwaukee
  • Todd Battle, President of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance
  • John Dickert, Mayor of the City of Racine
  • Charles Franklin, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Director of the Marquette Law School Poll, Marquette Law School
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of the City of Gary, Indiana
  • Mike Gousha, Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy, Marquette Law School  
  • David Haynes, Editorial Page Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Michelle Nettles, Chief Human Resources Officer, MillerCoors
  • Kelly O’Brien, President and CEO, Alliance for Regional Development
  • Carmel Ruffolo, Wisconsin Operational Chair, Alliance for Regional Development


Organizers of the conference include, in addition to Gousha, Franklin, and Haynes, Alan Borsuk, senior fellow in law and public policy, Marquette Law School; Marty Kaiser, former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Joseph Kearney, dean of Marquette Law School.

The conference is supported by the Law School’s Sheldon B. Lubar Fund for Public Policy Research and a grant from the Patrick and Anna M. Cudahy Fund.

The conference is complimentary, but seating is limited and registration (below) is required.

Questions? Contact Christine Wilczynski-Vogel, associate dean for external relations, at or 414.288.3167.


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