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Volume 5, Issue 33, Jan 3, 2023
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.

Published the first business day of each week

Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



Eggs & Issues: The "State of the County" Address

The Chamber's annual 'State of the County' address, led by Eau Claire County Board Chair Nick Smiar and County Administrator Kathryn Schauf. Hear the highlights of Eau Claire County's work over the past year and its priorities for 2023, plus meet newly-elected County Officers. Highlights to be covered include where the county has committed its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, how it expects to deploy its opioid settlement funds, the new multi-county Rural Partners Network, and what's happening with rural broadband.

 • Friday, Jan 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for more details and to register


Don't miss...

"Eau What A Night" - The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Registration now open

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

Organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance - the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. Bringing the collective voice of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders to Madison.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

   Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Wisconsin Inauguration Day is Jan 3

 • Plan Commission meets Tuesday

 • State and regional stories

 Kind leaves after 26 years in Congress, Van Orden to take office

 • COVID-19 updates 

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Jan 3 inaugural day for Governor, Legislature

Local lawmakers highlight their priorities

   With the fall election decided and a two-year state budget to enact, the new session of the 2023-24 Wisconsin State Legislature gets underway today, January 3. The inauguration ceremony was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol.

   The Legislative session gets underway with a reelected Democratic Governor, Tony Evers, and increased Republican majorities in the State Senate and Assembly. In our region, all incumbents up for reelection won their races. State Rep. Jesse James of Altoona moved to the State Senate to succeed retiring Sen. Kathy Bernier, with Republican Karen Hurd of Fall Creek elected to fill his Assembly seat. In the 25th Senate District to the north, former Rep. Romaine Quinn, a Republican, won the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley.

Local priorities asserted at Eggs & Issues

   Eight local lawmakers participated in the Chamber's Annual Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast at the Pablo Center on Friday, December 16. They included State Senator Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire, Dist. 31); Senator-elect Jesse James (R-Altoona, Dist. 23); Representatives Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake, Dist. 75), Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire, Dist. 91), Warren Petryk (R-Eleva Dist. 93), Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi, Dist. 92), and Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer, Dist. 67); and Representative-elect Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek, Dist. 68).

   What to do with the projected state budget surplus and support for the UWEC Science Building were among the top subjects discussed. Each also outlined their personal priorities for the next session, including how that's influenced by their committee assignments. (See the Eggs & Issues recap link below for details.)

State leaders discuss priorities, hint at compromises

   With budget deliberations approaching, Governor Tony Evers and Legislative Leaders have been talking about priorities for the next session. In an interview with WisPolitics.com, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he envisions three areas for compromise with the Governor in the upcoming session: Addressing learning loss, tax cuts to help residents with inflation, and innovation to address the state’s demographic challenges. Evers announced in December that the state is ending the year with a record $4.6 billion in its general fund. Evers has said that he is skeptical of flat tax proposals, and said he expects to propose legalization of marijuana. Evers will deliver his budget address on February 15.

More information: 

Recap: Eggs & Issues - Holiday Legislative Breakfast (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Links to pre-election interviews with local State Senate and Assembly winners (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Local legislators talk budget surplus, UW-EC building Funding (Leader-Telegram)

Commitment to education must include UW-EC  (Leader-Telegram editorial)

Full list of Assembly Committees and Republican Committee assignments (Speaker Robin Vos)

Full list of State Senate Committees and Republican Committee assignments (Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu)

Neubauer announces Assembly Democratic committee assignments (WisPolitics.com)

Sen. Agard: Announces committee assignments for Senate Democrats (WisPolitics.com)

State budget preview: Tax cuts, K-12 funding and local govt. shares, oh my (WQOW News 18)

The new Wisconsin legislative session is around the corner. Here are the leaders in charge of the party agendas. (Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin governor, GOP leaders meet for first time in years (AP)

Tax-cut plans diverge for Wisconsin’s record surplus (The Isthmus)

Wisconsin ends the year with a record $4.6 billion in its general fund (Journal-Sentinel +)

Vos: Not drawing bright lines to start the new session in the hopes of reaching compromises with Gov Evers (WisPolitics.com)

Evers to again propose marijuana legalization in state budget (WPR)

Join the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers at the:

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

    Click here for details and to register


EC Plan Commission: Sunnyvale Acres, Galloway St B&B

   The Eau Claire Plan Commission meets Tuesday evening, with a limited agenda that includes a proposed rezoning, preliminary plat, and general development plan for the Sunnyvale Acres development on 7.83 acres near Highway 53 on the southeast side. The parcel was annexed to the City in July. The plan calls for seven multi-family buildings with 6-12 units each. The agenda also includes a request from Ben & Kim Hays for a conditional use permit for a bed and breakfast at 632 Galloway St.

Meeting information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission

 • Monday, Dec 12, 7 p.m., Agenda Packet (43 pages)


Spring non-partisan election Apr 4 (Feb 21 Primary)

Jan 3 deadline to file for Spring Election local offices

Filing deadline Jan 3, Primary Feb 21, Election Apr 4

   The Spring non-partisan election in April will determine races for local municipal councils and boards, school boards, and a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

   Locally, that includes the Eau Claire City Council President, three City Council seats in Altoona, two Town Board seats for the Town of Washington, and the Mayor and three Village Trustee seats in Fall Creek. Local School Board seats on the April 4 ballot include two seats each on the School Boards for the Altoona, Eau Claire, and Fall Creek districts.

   For all of the Spring races, there will be Primary on February 21 for any race for which more than two individuals per office file nominating petitions. Candidates were allowed to begin circulating nominating petitions on December 1, with a filing deadline of January 3.

   Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld announced December 1 that he will not seek reelection when his term ends this coming Spring. Weld endorsed current City Council Vice President Emily Berge, who announced her candidacy to succeed him. 

   For the statewide Supreme Court race, there are four announced candidates for the 10-year term for retiring Justice Patience Roggensack. 

More information:

Offices on the ballot for April 4 Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Terry Weld Won’t Seek Re-Election as E.C. City Council President (Volume One)

Open Supreme Court Seat Attracts Four Candidates (Hamilton Consulting)


Federal grants will help fund Menomonie St underpass related to Sonnentag project, Boys & Girls Club teen center

Part of FY23 Omnibus Appropriations package 

   The $1.7 billions Omnibus Appropriations package, passed in December by Congress and signed by President Biden, included specific appropriations for two local projects: $1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Chippewa Valley for its Teen Program Center, and $750,000 for a Visit Eau Claire application to help fund a pedestrian underpass along Menomonie Street as part of road work to support the UWEC Sonnentag project currently under construction. 

More information:

Pedestrian underpass, roundabout included in next year's Menomonie Street project (Leader-Telegram $)

Boys and Girls Club in Eau Claire to get $1 million (WQOW News 18)

Local Boys & Girls Club, city getting money from Congress (Leader-Telegram $)

Kind votes for $1.7 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Package, applauds $16.5 million for 3rd District projects (La Crosse Tribune +)

Biden signs $1.7 trillion government funding bill (Axios)


More local stories:


Eau Claire County funding solar projects, water testing with pandemic-relief money (Leader-Telegram $)


Visit Eau Claire looks to expands ColorBlock mural program (WEAU 13 News)


Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk reflects on his overall time in law enforcement (WEAU 13 News)


November home sales report: Declining Affordability and Tight Inventories Lead to Slide in Home Sales (Wisconsin Realtors Association)

November home sales plummet 39% in western Wisconsin (Leader-Telegram $)



Eau Claire Chamber Business Matters podcast

 Episode 12: Eau Claire City Manager Stephanie Hirsch (31:26)


Ron Kind ends 26th year in Congress, Van Orden taking office

Leader Ethics plans Jan 24 online exit interview with Kind

   Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) ended his 26th year in Congress on Jan 2, retiring after deciding not to run for reelection in 2022. Taking his place is Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien), who won won a close race last November over State Senator Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska). Van Orden won on his second try, after narrowly losing to Kind in 2020.

   Leader Ethics has announced an online interview with Kind at noon on Tuesday, Jan 24, to reflect on his years of service. See registration information below.

More information:

Van Orden prepares to join Congress, takes office Jan. 3 (WEAU 13 News)

Ron Kind, a long-serving Wisconsin congressman known for bipartisanship, leaves office with a warning about polarization (Journal-Sentinel $)

Online event: A Candid Conversation with Ron Kind

 • Tuesday, January 24, 12-1 p.m., facilitated by Leader Ethics

    Click here for information and registration


More national and economic stories:


Biden signs $1.7 trillion bill funding government operations (AP)


New Congress set to convene as uncertainty plagues McCarthy's bid for speaker (CBS News)


Inside the Jan. 6 committee’s massive new evidence trove (Politico)


U.S. Jobless Claims remain historically low, in a sign of labor-market strength (Wall Street Journal $)


What to Expect for the Economy in 2023 (Curtis Dubay, US Chamber of Commerce)


Why everyone thinks a recession is coming in 2023 (CNBC)


Zelensky to Congress: Against All Odds Ukraine Still Stands (Time)


‘Carol of the Bells’ Is More Than a Christmas Favorite. It’s a Ukrainian Cry of Independence. (Christianity Today)


Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)


The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues


COVID-19 Updates 


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


Inauguration Day

New sessions of the US Congress and Wisconsin Legislature

Inauguration of Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers

 • Tuesday, January 3, 2023


State of the State Address - Gov Tony Evers

 •  Tuesday, Jan 24, 7 p.m., State Capitol


Eggs & Issues: "State of Eau Claire County"

 • Friday, Jan 20, Pablo Center at the Confluence


A Candid Conversation with Ron Kind

Online event by Leader Ethics

 • Tuesday, January 24, 12-1 p.m.


"Eau What A Night:" The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


Governor's Budget Address - Gov Tony Evers

 • Wednesday, February 15, 7 p.m., State Capitol


Eggs & Issues: State of the City -Eau Claire

 • Friday, Feb 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Business Salutes Eau Claire Annual Golf Outing

• Monday, August 7, 2023


Public Meetings Calendar

Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate. If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org 

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