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Volume 6, Issue 21, Oct 2, 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
"Talking Point" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Local Candidate Training Workshop
   If you've ever considered running for a local elected office, want to help a friend or colleague with a campaign, or just wondered what's involved, make plans now to attend this workshop. You'll learn which offices will be on the ballot in the Spring 2024 election and the basic details of filing and running for office. You'll also have a chance to hear what it's really like to run and to serve from a panel of current and former city council, school board, and county board members. This event is co-sponsored with the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association, the REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, and Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley.
 • Wednesday, Oct 11, 8:30-11:30 a.m., REALTORS® Assn of NW Wisconsin
Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: Keeping Talent Local
   One of the most important workforce-related opportunities is ensuring that young people who grow up in the Chippewa Valley get connected with local career options, as well as finding ways to retain students who come here for college. At this edition of Eggs & Issues, learn what's being done to introduce K-12 students to local opportunities through efforts like employer tours, Junior Achievement, Youth Apprenticeship, CVTC dual credit and academies, and more. Plus, we'll look at how UW-Eau Claire and CVTC are increasing the number of their higher ed students who choose to stay in the region, and what employers are doing to engage talent through internships, apprenticeships, and other strategies.
Friday, Oct 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Menomonie Eggs & Issues
Bridging the Gap Between Education & Workforce
Presented by the Menomonie Area Chamber & Visitor Center, UW-Stout, and the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, Nov 2, 7:30-9:00  a.m., UW Stout Memorial Student Union
    Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
 • Friday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Chamber Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p
Lobby Hours: Mon-Thu 9a-3p, Friday 9a-Noon

In this issue:
 • EC City Council approves UWEC Science Building, Humane Assn agreement
 • July's TBEX conference generated 3.5 million media hits
 • Chamber Governmental Affairs Interns begin work
 • Business Matters podcast features Chippewa Valley Chamber leaders
 • Legislators celebrate Science Building, debate childcare, redistricting
 • Congress avoids government shutdown
 • 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 "+"


City of Eau Claire news
EC City Council approves UWEC Science Building, Humane Society agreement
   At its Legislative Session last week, the Eau Claire City Council approved the site plan for UW-Eau Claire's Science and Health Sciences Building (see pages 13-43 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below) and a 15-year animal control agreement with the Eau Claire County Humane Association (See pages 67-77 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The Council also held a Work Session after Tuesday's meeting to review a study from the Advisory Committee on Appointments regarding the composition, format, and purpose of the City's Boards, Commissions, and Committees. 
RDA negotiating new Cannery District development
   The City's Redevelopment Authority on Sep 20 agreed to a 90-day agreement with Moeding Partners to negotiate an MOU to develop a proposed Oxford Galleries live/work space in the Cannery District immediately north of the Brewing Projekt. Moeding and Son proposes to include 20-24 residences that would provide "dedicated creator spaces with individual ground floor storefronts along Oxford Avenue" tied to "multi-level residences to create a unique opportunity to live, work, and create in the heart of Eau Claire." (See pages 7-16 of the Redevelopment Authority Agenda Packet linked below.)
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Sep 25, Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (43 pages)
 • Tuesday, Sep 26, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (166 pages)
Redevelopment Authority
 • Wednesday, Sep 20, Agenda Packet (16 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 agreement with Eau Claire County Humane Association to last 15 years (Leader-Telegram $)
E.C. City Council OK’s Plan for UWEC’s New Science Hall (Volume One)
City Council approves firefighter grant, UWEC science building site plan (WEAU 13 News)
Fire department accepts grant to hire new firefighters (Leader-Telegram $)

Regional Housing Conference set for Nov 1 in Eau Claire
Organized by the Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission
   The City of Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission has opened registration for its second annual Regional Housing Conference on Wednesday, November 1. The Conference will include an update on the regional economy and its impact on housing; funding of low-income and workforce housing, including an update on recently-passed state legislation, regional zoning updates, and more.
   The Housing Opportunities Commission was established by the City Council in 2020 to address and encourage housing affordability in the City.
More information:
Housing Opportunities Commission (City of Eau Claire)
Regional Housing Conference
• Wednesday, Nov 1, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., UWEC Davies Center
   Click here for information and registration

Higher education
Forbes ranks UWEC among America's Top Colleges
CVTC reports increased total enrollment
Forbes has ranked the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire among its top colleges in the country based on graduation rates, return on investment and outcomes for low-income students. The publication says the America’s Top Colleges 2023 list showcases 500 of the finest schools in the country, with UW-Eau Claire ranking 412th overall and among the top public universities in the Midwest. Princeton, Yale and Stanford are the top three universities on this year’s list.
   Forbes found that the median 10-year salary for a Blugold graduate rose from $100,900 last year to $106,500 on the 2023 list. The publication also found that UW-Eau Claire’s average grant aid is $3,751 and its average student debt is $7,550.
   Meanwhile, Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) reports that overall student enrollment is up 2% this year at 7,588. It's Full Time Enrollment figure (FTE) has grown to 2,102, a 3% increase over last year.
More information:
UW-Eau Claire on Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges 2023 list (UWEC)
America's Top Colleges 2023 (Forbes)
#412 University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire (Forbes)
UWEC, UWRF overall enrollment lower, but expected (Leader-Telegram $)
CVTC total enrollment up from fall of 2022 (Leader-Telegram $)
Valley’s Colleges, Universities See Positive Signs in Fall Enrollment (Volume One)
CVTC students tell stories of immigration in new book (CVTC)
CVTC students' stories of immigration come together in new book (Leader-Telegram $)

Local economy
July's TBEX conference generated 3.5 million media hits
   Back in July, Visit Eau Claire hosted hundreds of travel bloggers and content creators from around the world for the annual travel blog exchange conference (TBEX). Many of those creators posted content from their visit to the Chippewa Valley, enough, according to Visit Eau Claire, to amount to total social media and non-social media reach of over 3.5 million.
   "In addition to the fantastic blog content that has come out of the conference," noted Visit Eau Claire in a recent update, "the organic social media content that our area has received is outstanding. Since July 20th, there have been 70,559 social media interactions using the keywords TBEX Eau Claire."
More information and examples of TBEX-related media:

Links to TBEX-generated media (Visit Eau Claire)
From Kayaks to Conferences: A Memorable Sojourn in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Is Eau Claire Worth Visiting?: Uncover Wisconsin's Hidden Gem
We Eat a Lot of Wisconsin Ice Cream
On Location: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Menomonie, Wisconsin Tour
Adventure Awaits: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Outdoor Activities in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
22 Things to do in Eau Claire, WI Recommended by Popular Travel Bloggers

Leah Brawdy, Mallory Williams are the Chamber's 2023-24 Governmental Affairs Interns
   The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed its 2023-24 Governmental Affairs Interns, Mallory Williams and Leah Brawdy, who will assist with the implementation of the organization's programs through the academic year. Mallory is continuing her second year interning while Leah is new. Both are political science majors at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.
   Mallory is a third-year student at UWEC working towards a Political Science and Journalism degree. This is her second year as one of the governmental affairs interns. At UWEC, Mallory is a Student Senator and heavily involved in intramurals and club sports. Mallory is from Elk River, Minnesota and enjoys reading, working out, and spending time with friends.
   Leah is a Junior majoring in Political Science with a Legal Studies emphasis. She is from Chippewa Falls. When not at the Chamber, Leah works at Scheels in Customer Service. For fun, Leah likes to spend time with friends and family, listen to music, read, and go to concerts. After graduation, Leah would like to return to school at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) for a marketing degree to work in event coordination/management. Then, Leah would like to pursue a career as a paralegal after her time in event management/marketing.
   “This internship program has been a critical part of accomplishing the Chamber's public policy work since 1999," noted the Chamber's Vice President Governmental Affairs, Scott Rogers. "It serves to provide a practical experience for the interns," he said, "and helps us to accomplish more work on behalf of the business community."

"Business Matters" Podcast
Chippewa Valley Chamber leaders talk about their roles
   In honor of Chamber of Commerce Month, President & CEO Dave Minor, sits down with fellow Chamber leaders, Allyson Wisniewski of the Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce and Ashley DeMuth with the Menomonie Chamber & Visitor Center. Together they discuss how they got to where they are and how each Chamber advocates for their communities.
Listen: Business Matters Podcast (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, 49:18)

Meeting this week...

Eau Claire Board of Education
 • Monday, Oct 2, 7 p.m. Board information and agenda
School board meeting discusses improving graduation rates, district governing (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire County Board
 • Tuesday, Oct 3, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet
County Board district maps and Supervisors
Eau Claire County welcomes new finance director (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire County Meals on Wheels program grows into new facility (WEAU 13 News)
Fresh Kitchen, Fresh Meals: E.C. County Meals on Wheels Gets New Home (Volume One)
Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office receives $350K for opioid epidemic (WEAU 13 News)

More local stories:

Chamber 2023 Bravo to Business Winners Announced
(Volume One)

JONAH introduces Tenant Landlord Resource Center to community (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center is working to address housing barriers (WEAU 13 News)

Altoona City Council approves new business liquor license for Modicum space
(WQOW News 18)

Groundbreaking held for veterans tribute in Altoona
(WEAU 13 News)

Road work near future Costco underway
(WQOW News 18)

UWEC student wins international award for short film on his mother
(Leader-Telegram $)

Children’s Museum Takes It Outside With Latest Feature
(Volume One)

Market on River announces it'll be home to local bakery, Mexican restaurant
(WQOW News 18)

CFHS business teacher named Junior Achievement Hero
(Leader-Telegram $)

UWEC promotes sustainability through new orientation program
(Leader-Telegram $)


September 29 Eggs & Issues
Local legislators celebrate UWEC, Stout projects, housing bills
Lively debate on childcare, tax cuts, redistricting
   Five local legislators representing the Chippewa Valley participated in the Chamber's well-attended Eggs & Issues Legislative Breakfast this past Friday, September 29, at the CVTC Business Education Center in Eau Claire. They included State Senators Jesse James (R-Altoona, District 23) and Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire, 31), and State Representatives Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake, 75), Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek, 68), and Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer, 67).
   With the previous Legislative Breakfast taking place in June, before the final conclusion of the 2023-25 biennial state budget, lawmakers of both parties highlighted what they viewed as the successes of the session so far. That included funding for the UWEC Science and Health Sciences Building and UW-Stout's Heritage Hall renovation, compromises related to local shared revenue funding, and the enactment of five bills to address affordable housing. 
   Pending issues like childcare and potential tax cuts, however, generated lively debate between Republican and Democratic viewpoints. In particular, Republican Reps. Armstrong and Hurd touted a series of Assembly bills related to childcare that they have had a hand in authoring that they say address systemic issues in the childcare business model. Democratic Senator Smith criticized the proposals as inadequate and endorsed Governor Evers' call to continue funding the Child Care Counts program. Smith supported the Governor's line item veto of tax cuts included in the budget for the top two tax brackets, while Summerfield, who is Assembly Majority Caucus Chair, asserted the need for a middle class tax cut.
   One point of agreement between both Senators James and Smith was their co-sponsorship of a "Final Five" proposal to establish an open primary for federal offices (Congress and US Senate), where the top five vote getters would advance to the general election, and where voters would then use a ranked-choice system to determine the winner.
   There was also debate between current viewpoints on redistricting, including an Assembly-passed bill to move to an Iowa-style non-partisan system or the potential that a new liberal majority on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court might throw out current maps and establish new ones. Hurd argued that the Assembly plan provides the best path to fair maps, while Smith said too much power would remain with the legislature.
   The Chamber's next Legislative Breakfast will be the annual Holiday edition on December 15, recapping fall action and looking to the final weeks of the current session starting in January.
Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for details and to register
More information: 

Wisconsin Legislators discuss child care, final-five voting bill over breakfast in EC (Leader-Telegram $)
Taxes, Child Care, and Redistricting Emerge as Key Issues (Hamilton Consulting)
Governor’s child care funding proposal might get a second life as Senate quietly moves special session legislation forward (Wisconsin Examiner)
Legislature, Evers disagree on child care funding while costs remain high (Fox 11)
Assembly approves bills aiming to boost child care availability, reduce costs (WisPolitics.com)
Bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers propose ranked-choice voting and top-five primaries (AP)
Republicans' redistricting plan is nearly identical to Democrats' bill from 4 past sessions (Journal-Sentinel +)

Food for thought...
OUR VIEW: Don't blow it. Wisconsin has its best shot at fair maps in a generation (Editorial, Wisconsin State Journal +)

More state and regional news:

Wisconsin is altering its child care subsidy program. Here’s what families need to know.
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Senate committee rejects four Evers appointees to Natural Resources Board
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Teacher prep programs not on the same page as Wisconsin’s new reading law

UW System allocated ARPA funds to improve literacy training for teachers, but no university participated (WPR)

New technologies, partnerships for clean energy
(Karl Hoesly, Xcel Energy, APG Wisconsin +)

As Mississippi River swings between historic highs and lows, shipping industry struggles to adapt
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Coolest thing made in Wisconsin: Sixteen Wisconsin Products to Compete in Manufacturing Madness Tournament

Milwaukee County Exec's 2024 Budget Departs From Decades of Cuts
(Urban Milwaukee)

Milwaukee County seeing a 'significant' uptick in its homeless population

Heat forces organizers to cancel Twin Cities races that draws up to 20,000 runners


National and economic stories:

Government shutdown averted with little time to spare as Biden signs funding before midnight Saturday (AP)

Van Orden, Tiffany split votes on funding government
(Leader-Telegram $)

Derrick Van Orden Votes to Keep Government Open
(News release, Rep. Van Orden)

Rep. Matt Gaetz is threatening to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It won’t be easy

House GOP members seek to expel Gaetz amid renewed threat to vacate House Speaker McCarthy
(Fox News)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein dies at 90
(Roll Call)

Newsom picks Laphonza Butler as Feinstein replacement

The Fed’s favorite inflation indicator rose less than expected in August

US Core PCE Prices Post Smallest Monthly Rise Since Late 2020
(Bloomberg +)

Student loan payments resume after 3-year pause

UAW expands strike against Ford, General Motors

Video & Story: UPFRONT recap - Autoworkers strike expands, Milwaukee workers strike to keep plant open

Van Orden, Tiffany tout new measures moving through Congress
(Leader-Telegram $)

Derrick Van Orden Cosponsors Pay Our Troops Act
(WEAU 13 News)

Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

Brightline launches train route from Miami to Orlando

Biden administration announces $1.4 billion to improve rail safety and boost capacity in 35 states

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

Americans have poor math skills. It’s a threat to US standing in the global economy, employers say

US Chamber LIBERTY Immigration Reform campaign
Bipartisan duo discusses opportunities for consensus on legal immigration reform
   During a webinar sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce last week, US Reps. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) discussed legal immigration reform on “Common Grounds: Spotlight on Legal Immigration Reform.” During the event, they dive into opportunities for consensus, legitimate policy differences, and pathways to real, bipartisan solutions on border security and immigration reform. (See the link below to view the video recording.)
   The US Chamber - together with over 430 business associations from all 50 states - launched the Legal Immigration Border Enforcement This Year (LIBERTY) Campaign and called on elected officials to secure our borders and update our broken legal immigration system. Here’s a look at how the LIBERTY Campaign plans to fix America’s broken immigration system.
The problem: The situation at the border is chaos. Our immigration system fails to meet the needs of businesses and imposes significant costs on communities and our economy. These issues can only be addressed with bipartisan Congressional action.  
   New data: Just updated, the U.S. Chamber's Immigration Data Center dives deeply into how our broken immigration system is contributing to the workforce struggles of American businesses and why our leaders need to get serious about securing our borders and modernizing our antiquated immigration system. 
   What you can do: Click here to tell your elected officials to secure the border and fix our broken legal immigration system
Learn more: LIBERTY campaign information (US Chamber of Commerce)
Video: Spotlight on Legal Immigration Reform (US Chamber of Commerce, 28:29)

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

Mark your calendar:

Local Candidate Training Workshop
• Wednesday, Oct 11

Eggs & Issues: Keeping Talent Local
 • Friday, Oct 20

Menomonie Eggs & Issues: Bridging the Gap between Education & Workforce
 • Thursday, Nov 2

Economic Outlook Luncheon
 • Tuesday, Nov 14

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
 • Friday, Nov 17

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15

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

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

Chamber Royale

 • Thursday, May 16, 2024

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5, 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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