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Wisconsin Potawatomi leader calls for bipartisanship in State of Tribes speech

WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of Feb. 22, 2024
WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of Feb. 22, 2024 01:51

The leader of the Forest County Potawatomi tribe on Thursday 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.

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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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