by Jackie Johnson

Wisconsin Radio Network

December 18, 2009

A bill naming another state symbol gets a hearing at the state capitol Thursday.

The Badger State has 26 state symbols, so what’s one more? Milwaukee Democrat Representative Leon Young is proposing that the Harley-Davidson be designated as Wisconsin’s official state motorcycle.

“Quite frankly I already thought that Harley Davidson was the state symbol. It was not.”

Oconomowoc Republican Representative Joel Kleefisch questions whether other Wisconsin-based companies would be slighted by this preferential treatment. Young says, he has nothing against any other company. He’s simply more familiar with the Milwaukee-based Harley, and this is a symbolic gesture.

George Atwood of Milton is a member of Noise Free America. Testifying in opposition to the measure, he says Harley’s image is that of thunderous noise that disturbs the peace and order of society. And, it’s just plain distracting.

Meanwhile, the committee chair interrupted Atwood’s testimony in order to ask someone to close the door due to the noise coming from the hallway.

Atwood replied without missing a beat, “It’s distracting, isn’t it?”

Point taken.

Among Wisconsin’s many state symbols include a state tree: the sugar maple; beverage: milk; dance: polka; and the state fruit: cranberry.