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Volume 5, Issue 25, Nov 7, 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


Next week...

Eggs & Issues: Post-Election Analysis with the Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

For the third election season in a row, we'll be joined at Eggs & Issues by Charles Franklin, Director of the Marquette Law School Poll, to provide a valuable post-election analysis of what's inside the votes of Wisconsin citizens on Election Day. The Marquette Poll is the gold standard of polls in the state, and Franklin's remarks are always insightful.

 • Thursday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

  Click here for details and to register



 • Election Day: Tuesday, November 8, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   This week's Election is important to determining the direction of Wisconsin state government and the US Congress. The Chamber does not endorse candidates, but provides resources to help investors learn more about candidates and what they have to say about issues important to business.

   Offices on the ballot include: US Senate, US Congress, Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer; State Senate (odd # districts), State Assembly, Eau Claire County Sheriff, Clerk of Courts, and Tax Levy referendums for the City of Eau Claire and Eau Claire Area School District. These links provide important information and resources:

Click here to find your polling place and what's on your ballot (myvote.wi.gov)

The Chamber's Guide to the Fall Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


Local legislative races - video interviews and candidate questionnaires

The Chamber invited candidates for State Senate and Assembly districts representing the Chippewa Valley to answer our Good Government Council Questionnaire on business issues, and to participate in a 9 to 12 minute individual video interview. Click the links below to access the questionnaires and interviews:

Senate District 23 - Jesse James (R) vs. Dan Hardy (D write-in)

Senate District 31 - Dave Estenson (R) vs Jeff Smith (D-Incumbent)

Assembly District 67 - Jason Bennett (D) vs. Rob Summerfield (R-Incumbent)

Assembly District 68 - Karen Hurd (R) vs. Nate Otto (D)

Assembly District 91  - Jodi Emerson (D-Incumbent) vs. Josh Stanley (R)

Assembly District 93 - Alison Page (D) vs. Warren Petryk (R-Incumbent)

Playlist of all candidate videos (YouTube)


Tax Levy Referendums - City of Eau Claire and ECASD
Both the City of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) have referendums on the ballot to increase their property tax rates. 


 • City of Eau Claire: The City is seeking permission to increase its rate by 22 cents per thousand assessed value as a permanent increase to hire 15 additional public safety positions. If passed, the 22 cents would be added. The city-only portion of tax bills in 2021 was $6.278 per thousand ($7.286 including the library and health dept.) Details

More details: City of Eau Claire Referendum website (City of Eau Claire)


 • Eau Claire Area School District: ECASD is seeking permission to increase its rate by 40 cents per thousand over 20 years to pay for $98.6 million in capital improvement projects for several schools. The mill rate for 2022-23 will be $6.33 per thousand vs. $7.02 per thousand last year. The 40 cents would be in addition. To compare ECASD's mill rate with other districts, click here.

More details: School District Referendum website (ECASD)


   To calculate the impact on your tax bill, multiply the mill rates noted above by each $1,000 of assessed valuation.

   View our recorded Forum: The Chamber recently conducted a joint Referendum Forum with both the City and ECASD, where they each provided information and answered questions about what's on the ballot, tax implications for property owners, and how the additional revenue would be used. It was recorded and can be viewed at the link below.

More information:

Video: Click here to view the Chamber Referendum Forum


Final Marquette Poll calls US Senate, Governor's race as tossups

Scroll down to the state and regional section of this newsletter for more election news and information about state and federal election races...

In this issue: 

 • Xcel President Mark Stoering announces retirement

 • Perrigo purchases Nestlé's Gateway infant formula plant

 • EC City Council meets this week

 • Eau Claire County finalizes 2023 budget

 • EC School Board to vote on increasing substitute pay

 • Adapting to new workforce realities: Chamber Workforce Summit

 • Chamber job opening: Vice President Education & Young Professionals

 • Election news: Final Marquette Poll shows Senate, Governor tossups

 • 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 "+"


Xcel Energy Wisconsin President Mark Stoering to retire

   Mark Stoering, who has been President of Xcel Energy-Wisconsin and Michigan since 2010, has announced his retirement at the end of 2022.

  At Xcel, Stoering has played key roles in laying the foundation for the company’s clean energy strategy, including leading the development of community solar in Wisconsin and the first company-owned wind farms. 

   “Mark has had a tremendous impact on our company and, more importantly, the hundreds of communities we serve in Wisconsin and Michigan,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, Inc. “He has always been a great innovator and leader and has built a strong team that will carry on his legacy.”

   A company press release also noted that Stoering has worked closely with local, state and federal leaders, and helped guide economic development organizations such as the Gateway Industrial Park Corporation in Eau Claire. 

   A native of southern Minnesota, Stoering began his career with Xcel in 1989. A successor will be named in the coming weeks.

More information:

Xcel Energy: Mark Stoering retiring after 33 years (WisPolitics.com)


Perrigo buys Nestlé's Eau Claire Gateway infant formula plant

To invest $60 million to expand production

   Nestle's infant formula plant in Eau Claire's Gateway Industrial Park has been purchased by Perrigo, a global company that manufactures and markets a wide variety of over-the-counter health and wellness products.

   The purchase includes the US and Canadian rights to the Nestle's Good Start  infant formula brand. Perrigo says it will immediately invest $60 million in the Eau Claire plant to expand its 29 million pound per year production capacity by seven million pounds, or approximately 100 million more feedings per year, within 18 months, adding a total of 36 million pounds of capacity to Perrigo. It plans an additional $20 million annual investment in its existing plants in Vermont and Ohio.

More information:

Perrigo purchases Nestlé's Gateway infant formula plant (Perrigo news release)

Eau Claire's Nestlé Gateway plant bought by Perrigo (WQOW News 18)


EC City Council meets this week

Closed session planned to discuss transit center housing

   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week, beginning with its Public Hearing meeting on Monday evening with agenda items that include a proposed site plan and rezoning related to a new building at 602 Water St. by John Mogensen to replace the historic Ottawa House, which was determined to be structurally unsound. The developer proposes to replace it with a new two-story building with similar architectural elements that would include two small retail spaces and six two-bedroom apartments (see pages 5-18 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). There will also be a public discussion of a plan to seek bids for a trail project to link the Menard YMCA Tennis Center with Rod and Gun Park. The Waterways and Parks Commission on Oct 26 voted unanimously to move forward with a trail concept that is revised from that first proposed by the city's parks department. There has also been public comment from community members who prefer a location along Park Ridge Drive (see pages 26-37 of the Monday Agenda Packet).

   The Council will meet in closed session following Monday's 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 (see page 39 of the Monday Agenda Packet).

   Tuesday's Business Agenda includes action on the Public Hearing items from Monday, as well as approval for a $2 million gap financing loan for the LE Phillips Memorial Public Library remodel project. 

Meeting information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Nov 7, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (39 pages)

 • Tuesday, Nov 8, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (59 pages)

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)

City is 'cautiously optimistic' about grant deadline for housing atop new center (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire developer wants to replace decrepit building on Water St. (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council to discuss lakefront boardwalk options (Leader-Telegram $)


EC County approves 2023 budget

   The Eau Claire County Board finalized its budget after nine hours of discussion over two days last Tuesday and Wednesday. The final budget of $152.767 million passed 23-5. Amendments were approved that included using $1.664 million in federal ARPA funds for some capital projects rather than bonding, and an amendment to add one full time jail lieutenant and four Sheriff's deputies. It also voted to increase highway bonding by $400,000 to $2.824 million. Proposed amendments to reduce allocations for the Department of Human Services failed to pass.

More information:

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday/Wednesday, Nov 1-2, Agenda Packet

    District Representatives

    County Budget Information

Board approves decreasing borrowing, adding sheriff deputies (Leader-Telegram $)

Chippewa County Board approves 2023 budget (Leader-Telegram $)


EC School Board to vote on increasing substitute pay,

Student Transit contract

   The Eau Claire Area School District's Board of Education meets Monday evening. Its agenda includes voting on a proposal to increase the substitute teacher pay rate from $140 to $160 per day, putting it in line with some local districts who pay at that rate. The board will also consider approval of a five year contract with Student Transit for bus transportation.

More information:

Eau Claire Area School District Board of Education

• Monday, Nov 7, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

Pay increase for substitutes on the table at EC school board meeting (Leader-Telegram $)


"Adapting to the New Reality: The Ever Changing Workforce"

2022 Chamber Workforce Summit - November 16

   The current labor shortage and after effects of the pandemic have upended the workforce landscape for many employers. The Chamber's annual Workforce Solutions Summit is designed to bring area employers together with practical solutions they can implement to solve immediate and long-term workforce challenges. This year’s topics can really help employers in the area learn how they can keep the workplace environment healthy so they can continue to carry out their company’s mission. Continue reading...

More information:

2022 Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, Nov 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and registration


Chamber job opening

Vice President Education & Young Professionals

   The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce has a new job opening for Vice President Education and Young Professionals. Casey Schumacher, who has served in the position since March 2017, is taking a break from this career to focus on herself & reset. Casey's last day at the Chamber will be December 16, and we're looking for a new person to take on this key role.

   The primary responsibilities include staff leadership for the Chippewa Valley Young Professionals and for the Chamber's adult and youth leadership programs. For more information and to apply, click the link below:

Job listing: Vice President Education & Young Professionals (jobsinec.com)


More local news: 


Check Out Altoona’s Future Small Biz Container Park (Volume One)


Chippewa Valley Startup Week Nov 14-18 (Co-Lab)


Future Downtown Flower Shop Wins Jump Start Prize (Volume One)


UW-Eau Claire research team works with Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market to address food insecurity (UWEC)


Ag secretary Vilsack visits Crescent Meats in Cadott (Leader-Telegram $)


Biden Administration officials stop in Wisconsin to announce program aimed at helping rural communities (WPR)


Prevail Bank Eau Claire branch grand reopening (WEAU 13 News)


Developer examines Dunn Co. solar project (Leader-Telegram $)


Final Marquette Poll calls US Senate, Governor's race as tossups

   A new Marquette Law School Poll survey of Wisconsin voters finds the races for both U.S. Senate and governor are tossups based upon the survey taken one week before election day. Among likely voters in the election for U.S. Senate, Sen. Ron Johnson is supported by 50% and Mandela Barnes by 48%. Among likely voters for Governor, 48% support Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers, while 48% favor Republican Tim Michels. 

   Post-election analysis at Eggs & Issues: Marquette Poll Director Charles Franklin will be the Chamber's Guest at the next Eggs & Issues breakfast on Thursday, November 17. See the link below for details.

More information:

Final pre-election Marquette Law School Poll finds both Senate and Governor's races are tossups (Marquette Law School)

Marquette poll shows toss-up races between Tim Michels and Tony Evers for governor, Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes for Senate (Journal-Sentinel +)


Eggs & Issues: Post-election Analysis with the Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

 • Thursday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


More Election news:


EC Sheriff's Office vets seek to be the new leader (Leader-Telegram $)


Former Milwaukee elections official charged with misconduct (AP)


Eyes on the US House: What are Republicans’ plans if they take the majority? (Haley Byrd Wilt, Uphill)


Life Inside Wisconsin’s Most Polarized and Predictive County (Politico)


Wisconsin 2022 Election Preview Analysis (Hamilton Consulting)


Secretary of State

Normally quiet secretary of state race erupts with questions of elections, power and democracy (WPR)


Attorney General

Video: October 27 Debate (56:12, Channel 3000)

Incumbent attorney general says Wisconsin should focus on crimes other than violations of abortion ban (WPR)

GOP candidate for Wisconsin attorney general says he's the candidate to enforce rule of law (WPR)



Video: 2022 Candidate Statement: Tony Evers (PBS Wisconsin)

Video: Tim Michels speech to WMC Business Day (WMC)

Video: October 14 Debate (58:21; Fox 6 Milwaukee)

Profile: Tony Evers as a child watched his dad combat a deadly disease plaguing society. In 2020, it was his turn. (Journal-Sentinel +)

Profile: 'I want to serve': Tim Michels hopes to translate business success into leading Wisconsin (Journal-Sentinel +)

Tim Michels: 'Republicans will never lose another election' ... because they'll do such a great job (Wisconsin State Journal +)


US Senate

Video: October 7 Debate (57:29, Fox 6 Milwaukee)

Sen. Johnson stops in Chippewa Falls (Leader-Telegram $)

Barnes campaign stops at UW-Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)


When Both Sides See the Other as a ‘Threat to Democracy’ (The Dispatch)


Political Ad Watch (WisPolitics.com)


More state and regional stories:


Wisconsin's housing shortage isn't just a quality-of-life issue. It's a workforce issue. (WPR)


Gov. Evers, DWD Announce $15 Million Grant to Boost Access to Childcare, Early Childhood Education for Working Families (Office of the Governor)


National and economic stories:


Fed approves 0.75-point hike to take rates to highest since 2008 and hints at change in policy ahead (CNBC)


U.S. economy adds 261,000 jobs in October as labor market stays solid (Axios)


Manchin calls for deal on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in new Congress (The Hill)


Smaller cities are thriving as Americans opt to work from home. (Chris Stirewalt, The Dispatch)


FCC commissioner says government should ban TikTok (Axios)


America’s Fentanyl Crisis (The Morning Dispatch)


How less traffic led to more deaths during the pandemic (WHYY)


A proposed Labor Department rule could harm millions of American workers, for no good policy reason. (Scott Lincicome, Capitolism)


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:


General Election

• Tuesday, November 8, Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   The Chamber's Guide to the Election


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Eggs & Issues: Election Analysis with Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

 • Thursday, November 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Regional Housing Conference

Organized by the City of Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission.

Details available soon

 • Thursday, December 1, CVTC Business Education Center


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


"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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