3 Questions With: Collin Roth, Director of Strategy Development at State Policy Network

Jan 20, 2023 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

1. What is the number one challenge facing Wisconsin today and why?

I’m really concerned about the drug overdose epidemic being driven by fentanyl. It’s not a Wisconsin-specific problem by any means. But it continues to get so much worse, and I’m worried it may have started to fade into the background even as it ravages families and communities.

The most recent annual data puts Wisconsin opioid deaths at 1,427 – more than 3 deaths per day. But the trend lines are deeply troubling. Deaths have grown by 70% since 2018. This poison is cheap, plentiful, and extremely dangerous. And the downstream effects of addiction and death are affecting the lives of more Wisconsinites every year.

2. What is your favorite Wisconsin Activity?

I really enjoy kayaking some of the rivers in Wisconsin, particularly in the Fall. It’s a wonderful way to unplug and see our state.

3. What is your favorite book?

I really enjoy reading about history. Mid-century historian Bruce Catton’s trilogy on the Union Army of the Potomac during the Civil War (“Mr. Lincoln’s Army”, “Glory Road”, and “A Stillness at Appomattox”) is history writing at its finest. It’s lyrical, moving, easy to grasp, and character driven.

In the preface to the first book, Catton writes, “the war in which they fought did settle something for us – or, incredibly, started something which we ourselves have got to finish.” That perspective: that America is an incredible story, and our history is a valuable inheritance is one of the keys to making us all better citizens.