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Volume 5, Issue 27, Nov 21, 2022
 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



Happy Thanksgiving! The Chamber offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov 24-25, in observance.


Previewing next year's legislative session

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

Invited are members of the State Senate and Assembly who will represent our region beginning with the January legislative session, including newly-elected members. 

 • Friday, Dec 16, 7:00-8:30 a.m., 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. A valuable opportunity to bring 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: 

 • December 1 Regional Housing Conference planned

 • EC City Council to vote on 2023 operating budget

 • Karl Hoesley named next Xcel Energy Wisconsin President

 • Local legislators Smith, Summerfield, Pronschinske secure leadership posts

 • State and regional stories

 National and economic news

 • 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 "+"


Regional Housing Conference to tackle affordability, supply

   An Eau Claire City commission tasked with addressing local housing supply and affordability is sponsoring a Regional Housing Conference on Thursday, December 1. The hybrid event, organized by the Housing Opportunities Commission, will begin with an opening keynote from statewide housing expert Kurt Paulsen of UW-Madison, who will provide insights into the status and challenges of the housing market in the state. Other sessions will focus on the impact of zoning, green building design, universal and inclusive design, housing and EDI, and the relationship between housing and transportation. Anyone involved in or interested in the local housing market is encouraged to attend.

More information:

Housing Conference - Housing Opportunities Commission (City of Eau Claire)

Regional Housing Conference

 • Thursday, Dec 1, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (in person or virtual)

    Chippewa Valley Technical College, Business Education Center

    Click here for program and registration information


EC City Council to vote on 2023 operating budget

RDA discusses potential Shopko Plaza area redevelopment

   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week, with its Monday Public Hearing agenda including the proposed 2023 Operating Budget, the City's schedule of fees for 2023, and updated employee benefits and policies. After the meeting, the Council will meet in closed session to discuss a potential negotiating strategy for the City to acquire the closed US Bank drive-up branch at 131 Farwell St between City Hall and the LE Phillips Public Library.

   The Council's Business Agenda at the Legislative Session on Tuesday includes approval of the transit agreement with UWEC to provide for expanded service (see pages 28-31 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below), an agreement for expansion of the Seven Mile Creek Landfill (pages 39-45), and a final plat for Country Jam's development along Highway T (pages 46-69). 

Tax levy rates pending

   Also on Tuesday, the Council will vote on the 2023 Operating Budget. As of press time, City finance officials were still finalizing the property tax mill rate to be set for 2023. Voters at the November 8 election approved the proposed levy increase to pay for 15 public safety positions. The final mill rate will be provided before the Council votes on the budget. (See pages 99-129 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet, as well as the Proposed Operating Budget linked separately below.)

   The Council met in closed session following its Nov 7 meeting to discuss the terms and conditions, and negotiating strategy, for a development agreement with Merge Urban Development for a residential housing project above the transit center currently under construction. No details have yet been released.

RDA discusses Shopko Plaza area

   The City's Redevelopment Authority (RDA) met last Wednesday and continued its discussion of potential new areas of concentration as the North Barstow and Cannery District development areas near completion. The area around the former Shopko store along West Clairemont Avenue was a topic of discussion. City Economic Development Manager Aaron White has been discussing potential redevelopment areas with the RDA, which may make decisions in early 2023 about future areas to which to apply redevelopment efforts.

Meeting information:

Redevelopment Authority

 • Wednesday, Nov 16, Agenda Packet (9 pages)

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Nov 21, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (22 pages)

 • Tuesday, Nov 22, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (133 pages)

    City of Eau Claire 2023 Proposed Operating Budget (City of Eau Claire)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)

Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Proposed budget's impact on Eau Claire homeowners being calculated (Leader-Telegram $)

Shopko Plaza enters talks of potential redevelopment sites (Leader-Telegram $)


Karl Hoesly to lead Xcel Energy-Wisconsin & Michigan

Succeeds current President Mark Stoering

   Xcel Energy has announced that Karl Hoesly will succeed Mark Stoering as the next president for Xcel Energy-Wisconsin and Michigan beginning Dec. 1.

   Hoesly has worked for Xcel Energy for 15 years and currently serves as the regional vice president for Rates and Regulatory Affairs, a position he has held since 2018. In this role, he provides overall direction and leadership of Xcel Energy’s regulatory affairs function in Wisconsin and Michigan. He is also part of the senior management team that develops the company’s strategy and policies in the regulatory, legislative and customer service areas. Hoesly was previously manager of Regulatory Affairs. 

   “Karl has been an outstanding leader for us and the communities we serve in Wisconsin and Michigan for many years,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO for Xcel Energy. “He brings more than two decades of experience to the role and will play an essential function in continuing the jurisdiction’s support for new programs which enhance the customer experience and help us achieve our goal of carbon-free energy by 2050.”

   Prior to joining Xcel Energy in 2007, Hoesly held a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities in the areas of rates, finance, and regulatory affairs at Integrys Energy Company in Green Bay.

   Hoesly takes over the position that is being vacated by Mark Stoering, who is retiring after 33 years with Xcel Energy.

   “It’s a great honor to take the helm in Wisconsin and Michigan, and a great responsibility to provide the energy which powers a growing share of the lives and livelihoods of our customers,” said Hoesly. “I look forward to working with the Xcel Energy team, our customers, commissioners and our great stakeholder partners to lead the clean energy transition with affordable, net-zero carbon energy.”

More information:

Xcel Energy: Karl Hoesly to lead Xcel Energy-Wisconsin & Michigan (WisBusiness.com)


More local stories: 


UW-Eau Claire announces new leadership in EDI (News Release, UWEC)

UW-EC announces interim EDI leadership (Leader-Telegram $)


Renewed local Habitat for Humanity sets lofty goal (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire Transit Switching to ‘Tap-and-Ride’ Technology (Volume One)


Gas prices down in most areas of the state (WEAU 13 News)


Zien, veterans group pushes for land sale money to go to new vet home (Leader-Telegram $)


After 17 years, Phoenix Park is home to seven historical markers (WQOW News 18)


Voting opens Nov 22 for Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll 2023 (Volume One)


Rob Summerfield, Jeff Smith elected to legislative leadership 

Treig Pronschinske named Assembly Sergeant at Arms

   Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) and Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) have been elected to key leadership positions by their caucuses, with Rep. Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi) also joining the State Assembly Republican leadership team. The moves come as the party caucuses in each house met to pick their leadership teams after the November 8 election.

   Summerfield was elected Majority Caucus Chair by his Republican Assembly colleagues during the same meeting in which Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) was chosen as Assembly Speaker. Other top members of GOP Assembly leadership include Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Kevin Petersen (R-Waupaca), Majority Leader Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva), and Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jon Plumer (R-Lodi). Pronschinske was named Majority Caucus Sergeant at Arms. The Republicans hold a 64-35 margin in the Assembly.

   Smith was elected by his fellow Senate Democrats as Assistant Minority Leader, the number two position after newly-elected Minority Leader Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison). Smith was previously the Minority Caucus Chair. Other Senate Democratic leadership now includes Minority Caucus Chair Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), Minority Caucus Vice Chair Sen.-elect Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton). The previous Minority Leader, Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Mason), did not seek reelection. Republicans hold a 22-11 majority in the State Senate.

   For Senate Republicans, Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) will serve for his second time as Majority Leader. Others in leadership posts are Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), Majority Caucus Chair Sen. Van H. Wanggaard (R-Racine), and Majority Caucus Vice Chair Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan).

   For Assembly Democrats, Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) last week was unanimously reelected as Assembly Minority Leader. Other Assembly Democratic leaders include Assistant Minority Leader Kalan Haywood (D-Mlwaukee), Caucus Chair Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), Vice-Caucus Chair Jill Billings (D-La Crosse), Caucus Secretary Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay), and Caucus Sergeant at Arms Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton).

More information: 

Madison Sen. Melissa Agard to lead Senate Democrats as GOP holds supermajority (Wisconsin State Journal +)

Senate Democrats elect new leadership during Tuesday meeting (Wisconsin Examiner)

Racine's Neubauer reelected to lead Democrats in Wisconsin Assembly (Racine Journal-Times +)

Rep. Vos re-elected Assembly Speaker (WisPolitics.com)

LeMahieu re-elected Senate Majority Leader (WisPoltics.com)

Legislative Republicans reelect top leaders during closed caucus (Wisconsin Examiner)

Vos reelected Assembly Speaker, says it's time for GOP to move on from Trump (WPR)


Looking ahead to the 2023 Legislative Session

   As we go into the new session, who will represent the Chippewa Valley in Madison, and what are their views on business issues? Click here to see Chamber video interviews with winning candidates and their answers to our Candidate questionnaire


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

Invited are members of the State Senate and Assembly who will represent our region beginning with the January legislative session, including newly-elected members. 

 • Friday, Dec 16, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Recap: Wisconsin 2022 Election results

   The results of the November 8 election mean that Wisconsin will continue to have divided government over the next two years. 

   While Democratic Governor Tony Evers was elected to a second term, Republicans increased their majorities in the State Legislature. They picked up one seat in the State Senate to hold a 22-11 majority, enough to override a Gubernatorial veto. In the Assembly, Republicans picked up 3 seats to increase their margin to 64-35, but not enough to hold a veto-proof supermajority. 

More information:

Local Legislative Election Results (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Statewide Election Results (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Full Wisconsin Election Results (WisconsinVote.org)

Video & Story: Marquette University Law School Poll Director provides 2022 post-election analysis at Eau Claire Chamber event (WEAU 13 News)

National: The Uncalled Races Of The 2022 Election (fivethirtyeight.com)

Doug La Follette declares victory in Secretary of State race that remains too close to call (Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin Republicans fell short of a legislative supermajority, but they now have enough senators to impeach state officials, speed up bills (Journal-Sentinel $)

What's next for Derrick Van Orden in Congress after winning Wisconsin's 3rd (PBS Wisconsin)


More state and regional stories:


Head of Wisconsin DNR Preston Cole retiring (AP)


'We're at the most crucial time': With midterms over, Milwaukee leaders reignite push for sales tax (Journal-Sentinel $)


Wisconsin had 1,427 opioid overdose deaths last year, 16% higher than previous record (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Donation establishes UW-RF Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence (Leader-Telegram $)


'My dreams are becoming true': Fox Valley refugees find family-sustaining job opportunities (WPR)


Wisconsin loses 2,200 jobs, chiefly in health care and social assistance (The Cap Times)


Wisconsin part of multistate, $391M antitrust settlement with Google (Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin's biohealth industry is growing quickly, fostering innovation (WPR)


Economic trends mixed in Milwaukee, MMAC report shows (WisBusiness.com)


Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson signals openness to I-794 deconstruction (Journal-Sentinel +)


After an explosion 4 years ago, Wisconsin's only oil refinery is on track to start up early next year (WPR)


34th Annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award Applications Now Being Accepted (WMC)


National and economic stories:


Former President Donald Trump announces a White House bid for 2024 (CNN Politics)


Pelosi to step down from House leadership, stay in Congress (AP)


Meet the likely House Democratic leaders in the post-Pelosi era (Axios)


The Uncalled Races Of The 2022 Election (fivethirtyeight.com)


Former Speaker Paul Ryan calls himself a 'Never-Again-Trumper' (ABC News)


Biden’s 80th, Pelosi’s exit and Trump’s return put the spotlight on the leaders of the future (CNN Politics)


Democratic US Sen. Tammy Baldwin confident same-sex marriage bill will become law after Thanksgiving (WPR)


Biden administration seeks Supreme Court relief after student debt plan blocked (The Hill)


Wholesale prices rose 0.2% in October, less than expected, as inflation eases (CNBC)


Existing-Home Sales Slumped 5.9% in October, median sales price up 6.6% over Oct 2021 (National Assn of Realtors)


Large rail union SMART-TD votes to reject labor deal as national strike moves closer (CNBC)


Bob Iger returns as Disney CEO, replacing Bob Chapek after a brief, tumultuous tenure (CNBC)


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:


Regional Housing Conference

Organized by the City of Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission.

 • Thursday, December 1, CVTC Business Education Center


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


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

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


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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