In partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) and sponsored by Keller Builds, CEDC hosted the first of its kind legislative speed-dating type listening sessions with Chippewa Valley area legislators. Lona Cook of Cook Chiropractic, CEDC’s Advocacy Committee Chair, and Michael Welsh, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at WEDA, emceed the meeting, which was held at Main Street Cafe in Bloomer, WI. All area legislators were invited. Those that attended included Senator Kathy Bernier, Representative Dave Armstrong, Representative Jesse James, Representative Warren Petryk, and Representative Rob Summerfield.

“Each elected official had ten minutes to listen to business leaders’ feedback and concerns on a variety of topics impacting growth in their communities,” noted Donna Walker of Dairyland Power and WEDA Board of Directors Chair. “After each ten-minute increment, legislators rotated to the next table to receive further comments and inputs. Topics such as the importance of broadband, improving literacy, workforce attraction, the current movement of many local governments seeking tax increases, as well as bureaucratic red tape and regulation were brought to the table.” 

WEDA, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to expanding Wisconsin’s economy, also took the opportunity of the feedback social to present their Champion of Economic Development legislative awards to Rep. Armstrong, Rep. Petryk, and Rep. Summerfield. This award is given to lawmakers who exhibit an exceptional commitment to growing Wisconsin’s economy based on several factors. Over the course of the summer and early fall, WEDA will present 20 legislators with this prestigious award for their efforts during the 2021-22 legislative session.

“CEDC wanted to put together a legislative event that was unique to the state, while allowing the important issues facing businesses to be communicated to our policymakers,” noted Cook. “This speed dating feedback social certainly accomplished that goal, which I believe will help shape future legislative priorities for the Chippewa Valley.”

After the event, CEDC’s Advocacy Committee met privately with area legislators over lunch to follow up on the feedback session and to discuss the next steps in promoting a better business climate for the Chippewa Valley.