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Volume 6, Issue 35, Jan 16, 2024
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.
Published the first business day of each week
(This is an abbreviated Holiday Week edition)
Business Advocate Past Issues
Public Meetings Calendar
Chamber Events Calendar
The Chamber's Advocacy Principles
The Chamber's 2024 Business Issues Agenda
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Last chance to register...
Eggs & Issues: The State of Eau Claire County
The Chamber's annual 'State of the County' address, led by Eau Claire County Board Chair Nancy Coffey and County Administrator Kathryn Schauf. Hear the highlights of Eau Claire County's work over the past year, its priorities for 2024, and key partnerships that are critical to the County's effectiveness. Then we'll take a deeper dive into innovative work the County is undertaking to provide intervention for people undergoing crisis before needing to involve law enforcement and hospitals. Learn how the County and key partners are piloting innovative, research-based, collaborative approaches. We'll also hear from Sheriff Dave Riewestahl, Criminal Justice Services Director Tiana Glenna,  Deputy Director of Human Services Ron Schmidt, and Rene Sommers, Co-owner/Director, At the Roots.
 • Friday, Jan 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

"Eau What A Night" - The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting
 • Wednesday, Jan 24, 4:30-9:30 p.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence
    Click here for details and to register

Making a Difference: State and Federal Government
This informative session will concentrate on the state and federal government. Find out what decisions get made in Madison and Washington, and what they mean to you. A "Pints & Politics" program presented by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association, REALTORS® Association of Northwest Wisconsin, and Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley.
 • Tuesday, Jan 30, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Chamber Offices
    Click here for details and to register

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
Bringing the Chippewa Valley's voice to Madison. Organized by the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers of Commerce. After a very productive 2023, we'll be back in Madison to thank policymakers for key wins, remind them of unresolved issues, and build relationships. Click here for an update on the status of 2023 Rally Issues
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, Madison
    Click here for details and to register

National Civics Bee: Middle school essay deadline Jan 22

   Area 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students are eligible to participate in Wisconsin's first-ever competition for the National Civics Bee, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation. The first step is to submit an essay by January 22 (new extended deadline). Click the link below for details:
National Civics Bee information (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Chamber Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p  Lobby Hours: Mon-Fri 10a-2p

In this issue:
 • Chamber adopts 2024 Business Issues Agenda
 • Ballots set for local races in April 2 nonpartisan election
 • State and regional stories
• National and economic stories
 • Food for thought
 • 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 "+"


Chamber adopts 2024 Business Issues Agenda
   At its December 19 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce adopted its 2024 Business Issues Agenda. In light of its mission as "The Advocate of Business," the purpose of an annual Business Issues Agenda is to set forth the Chamber's philosophy on the most important economic issues for our community, plus the Chamber's position on specific governmental policies that affect or address those issues.
   As the new year begins, the Chamber will share the agenda with policymakers at all levels of government, and its staff will use it as a guide as government bodies consider actions that are addressed in the agenda. Topics covered in the agenda include free enterprise, stewardship of public resources, regulations, workforce development, housing supply and affordability, education, economic development, tourism, transportation and infrastructure, healthcare, energy and the environment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Click the link below to read the full agenda. If you have questions about the agenda, contact Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs rogers@eauclairechamber.org
More information:
The Chamber's Advocacy Principles
2024 Business Issues Agenda

Ballots set for local races in April 2 election
17 of 29 EC County Board races contested
   With the filing deadline of January 2 now passed, candidates are now set for local, nonpartisan elections in Wisconsin. Offices to be elected include all 29 Eau Claire County Board seats, and varying numbers of board and council seats in local municipalities and school districts.

   In the City of Eau Claire, the five district council seats are up for election, with incumbent members Jill Christopherson and Jeremy Gragert not running for reelection. Only two of the five seats are contested. In the City of Altoona, Mayor Brendan Pratt is unopposed for reelection to a three-year term. On the Eau Claire County Board, 17 of the 29 seats are contested, with six incumbents not seeking reelection. Both the Altoona and Eau Claire School Boards have contested elections. However, none of these races will require a primary, which be required on Feb 20 for race with more than two candidates for the number of positions.
   The April 2 election will also feature a Presidential Preference primary. Other partisan offices in Wisconsin are elected in November, with the primary for the fall election to be held on August 13.
   The Chamber does not endorse candidates for public office. As the election gets closer, the Chamber will provide resources for voter education. Click the links below for more details about candidates who have filed:
More information:
Local candidates on the Spring election ballot (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Newcomers Will Contend for Seats on E.C. City Council (Volume One)
Representative roundup: Eau Claire County and City candidates confirmed (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire County Board Candidates by District (Eau Claire County)
ECASD announces school board candidates (WEAU 13 News)
'We have exactly three months for this to play out': Candidates set for local elections (WQOW News 18)
Chippewa County Board Chairman Gullickson, one-third of board, not seeking re-election (Leader-Telegram $)
7 candidates, including Donald Trump, approved for Wisconsin's presidential primary (WPR)
Committee sets Wisconsin's ballot for April presidential primary (Channel 3000)

More local stories...

Fireworks committee recommends city use High Bridge for event
(Leader-Telegram $)
Fireworks committee shares recommendations with city council (WQOW News 18)

Visit Eau Claire website visits up over 26% in 2023
(Visit Eau Claire)

Eau Claire County finishes year strong with low unemployment and strong labor market
(WQOW News 18)

Eau Claire South YMCA opens with the New Year
(Leader-Telegram $)

Housing Study Encourages Action on Affordability
(Volume One)

Historic Shawtown neighborhood could see changes
(WQOW News)

Mayo Grants Aid Two Nonprofits That Address Homelessness (Volume One)

Following failed merger, Marshfield Clinic announces furloughs for 3% of staff
(WEAU 13 News)

Mayo Clinic Health System welcomes Wisconsin government relations manager
(WEAU 13 News)

WEAU honored by Eau Claire City Council
(WEAU 13 News)

Artwork Created at Reverb Music Festival here to stay
(Volume One)

EC Chamber to host local competition for National Civics Bee
Middle School students are eligible, essay deadline is January 22
   The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to host a first-of- its-kind civics competition that encourages young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities. Participating 6th, 7th and 8th graders will flex their civics knowledge for a chance to win recognition and cash prizes. Finalists will be invited to Washington, DC to compete in the inaugural National Civics Bee® national championship in Fall 2024.
   Who can participate: Any 6th, 7th, or 8th grade student residing in Wisconsin with an idea about using civics to improve their community. Middle school students from public, private, charter, and home schools are invited to take part in the first-round civics essay competition. After a distinguished panel reviews the 500-word essays, the top 20 students will be selected to move on to the next round of competition: a live quiz event to test their civics knowledge. The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce will host this event at DeLong Middle School on April 13, 2024. The finalists and top winners will receive various prizes, including $500 cash for the first-place student. Winners then move on the state and potentially national competition.
Key Dates:
 • January 22, 2024: Deadline for Essays
 • April 13, 2024: Local competition for students with the top 20 essays
 • June 14, 2024: Statewide finals, Madison
More information:
National Civics Bee information (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)
Wisconsin Chambers to Host Regional, Statewide Civics Bee (WMC)
Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce to hold National Civics Bee, inspire local youth (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire Chamber giving kids a chance to test their knowledge in National Civics Bee (WQOW News 18)
Civics Bee program encourages youth interest in civics, and essay contest offers cash prize (Volume One)


State and regional stories...

Wisconsin Supreme Court receives 7 sets of proposed legislative maps in gerrymandering case
(Journal-Sentinel +)

New maps for the Wisconsin Legislature are in. What happens now?
(The Cap Times)

Wisconsin Republicans would keep upper hand in Legislature under maps proposed by Democratic voters

Wisconsin's top elections official can stay on the job, judge rules
(The Cap Times)

With eyes on the 2024 election cycle, opposing groups take aim at ranked choice voting in Wisconsin

Wisconsin sex trafficking response gets 'F,' but lawmakers have ideas
(The Cap Times)

La Crosse County, city hope new partnership will better coordinate efforts to reduce homelessness

Latest episode...

"Talking Po!nt" podcast
The importance of advocating in Madison
   Decisions made in Madison have a big impact on the economy of the Chippewa Valley. In this episode, moderator Creative Director Chelsea Seckora talks to Eau Claire Chamber President & CEO Dave Minor and VP Governmental Affairs Scott Rogers about the ways we can work together to influence state policymakers. Hear details on how you can participate in the upcoming Chippewa Valley Rally.

Recorded in the WIN Technology Studio. Media sponsor Royal Credit Union. Click below to listen:
Talking Point Podcast Ep 3, "The importance of advocating in Madison" (32:24)

Click here for information on the 29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally (Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance)

Wisconsin’s State and Local Tax Burden Still Near Historic Low
   After falling in 2022 to the lowest level in more than a half century, the ratio between what Wisconsin residents pay in state and local taxes and what they receive in income essentially held steady last year. This ratio – known as the state and local tax burden – rose slightly in 2023 to an even 10.0%, up from 9.96% in the year prior.
   Local tax revenues in Wisconsin (including property taxes) rose 3.2% in fiscal 2023, which ran from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Meanwhile, revenues from state taxes such as income taxes grew 2.1%. State and local tax collections combined rose 2.5% to $36.23 billion, up from $35.36 billion in 2022. The growth in state and local tax collections in 2023 was lower than the 4.1% increase in 2022 and 7.2% rise in 2021.
More information: 
Report: Wisconsin’s State and Local Tax Burden Still Near Historic Low (Wisconsin Policy Forum)

State and local tax burden remains at historic low in Wisconsin, new report finds (Journal-Sentinel +)


National and economic stories...

Consumer prices rose 0.3% in December, higher than expected, pushing the annual rate to 3.4%

Iowa caucus highlights: Trump wins, DeSantis takes second in weather-impacted 2024 Republican contest
(NBC News)

Food for thought...

The Flip Side: Both sides of important issues
(The Flip Side, daily digest)

The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore” Speech delivered by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in May 1956 to commemorate the second anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

COVID-19 Resources:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)

Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: The State of Eau Claire County
 • Friday, Jan 19

Eau What A Night: The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting
 • Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Making a Difference: State and Federal Government

 • Tuesday, Jan 30

Workforce Solutions Summit
• Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 (Rescheduled)

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16, 2024

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5, 2024

"Bravo to Business" Awards
 • Thursday, Oct 17, 2024

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 G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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