Obey Resource Center

Dave Obey served the residents of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District for 42 years. The power of his tenure is reflected in his strong commitment to education, civic leadership and the value of citizen engagement. Now, through Dave’s insights into the legislative process, along with the foresight of many organizations and educational institutions, the David R. Obey Civic Resource Center is open to all.

We can begin answering the questions that Dave asked in 1956:

  • As we look to the future, where will each of us be?
  • What purpose will we have accomplished?
  • Will we be doing our part to build a better America in a better world?


The Resource Center will encourage bright and interested students to get involved personally with politics. I would like people to understand how you can do that and how you can feel comfortable getting involved.

-Dave Obey

The purpose and goals of the Civic Resource Center focus on inspiring students to learn about public policy; to discuss issues, laws, and policies with civility; and to encourage all of us to be active and knowledgeable participants in the democratic process.

The staff at the Civic Resource Center understands that to effectively promote civil dialogue and education, we must find ways to make public service more relevant to young people. We are also focused on accessibility; on asking what it will take to encourage an informed citizenry to become interested in civic participation; and how to create a culture of leadership and promote an environment that gives rise to a new generation of policymakers.

Programming with a purpose.

The David R. Obey Civic Resource Center is Wisconsin’s most important destination for understanding the past, present and future of public policy. Students and the public can learn about government, public policy and political decision-making from the Center’s expert staff, interactive exhibits, organized lecture series by national and state leaders, panel discussions and workshops, and civic forums tackling tough issues of the day.

Visit the David R. Obey Civic Resource Center today and become more knowledgeable about public policy tomorrow.

Where we stand. What we stand for.

The Obey Center is non-partisan. Period. We are also one of Wisconsin’s great resources for students and teachers, for researchers and historians, for those who want to know more about public service, and for those who want to lead. The Obey Center is a place where youth become aware and the disillusioned become engaged.

As part of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Area Research Network, the Obey Center will have access to more than 2 million pages of original congressional archives. These materials provide a thought-provoking look at public policy and the legislative process. Available to the public for viewing and research, these archives serve as a guidepost for civic engagement, offer key insights into a career of public service and speak to the value of leadership.

More than anything, the David R. Obey Civic Resource Center can teach all of us about the legislative process, its inner workings and the outer benefits. It’s a terrific resource for students and teachers, researchers and writers, the curious and the concerned. Future generations of citizens and leaders will truly benefit from the wealth of knowledge available here.

-Tom Petri, United States House of Representatives, 1979-2015, Wisconsin 6th Congressional District