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Volume 5, Issue 34, Jan 9, 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: 

 • Berge unopposed for EC City Council President in April, 

   competition for Altoona and Eau Claire school board seats

 • Sunnyvale Acres goes to Eau Claire City Council

 • Evers inaugurated, Legislature convenes

 • Governor to hold budget listening session Jan 18 in Eau Claire

 • McCarthy elected US House Speaker on 15th ballot

 • US Chamber calls on Congress to address inflation, will hold Jan 12

    "State of American Business" online event 

 • 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 "+"


Spring election: Berge unopposed for EC City Council President

Four file for two EC School Board positions, three for two Altoona seats

   Last Tuesday was the filing deadline for candidates for the April 4 Spring Non-Partisan Election. Locally, current Eau Claire City Council Member Emily Berge, who represents District 1, was the only candidate to file for City Council President. Current Council President Terry Weld is not seeking reelection, and in December announced his endorsement of Berge to be his successor. If elected, Berge would vacate the final year of her three-year district term. 

   For the Eau Claire School Board, four candidates filed for the two positions on the ballot, including incumbent Lori Bica and newcomers Frankie Bowe, Jarrett Dement, and Sally A. Huffey.  

   In Altoona, three candidates have filed for two School Board positions, including incumbents Nicole Breed and Hillarie Roth, plus challenger Lauren Otto.  For the Altoona City Council, all three incumbents whose seats are on the ballot are unopposed for reelection, including Matthew Biren in District 4, Kaitlyn Leopold in District 5, and Susan Rowe in District 6.

State Supreme Court Primary Feb 21

   Also on the April ballot is an open seat for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack is retiring and four candidates have filed for the seat. Jennifer Dorow, Everett Mitchell, Janet Protasiewicz, and former Justice Daniel Kelly will face off in the February 21 Primary to narrow the field to two for April 4.

More information:

Spring ballots set in Chippewa Valley (Leader-Telegram $)

Three new-comers running for Eau Claire School Board (WQOW News 18)

4 candidates submit candidacy paperwork to ECASD for ECASD School Board (WEAU 13 News)

Meet the candidates running in the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court primary (PBS Wisconsin)

Devin LeMahieu endorses Jennifer Dorow in Wisconsin Supreme Court race (The Cap Times)


EC City Council: Sunnyvale Acres project,

preview of 2023 street improvements

   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week. The only item on its Monday Public Hearing agenda is a proposed rezoning, preliminary plat, and general development agreement 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 (see pages 5-24 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). The proposal was recommended unanimously last week by the Plan Commission, and will be acted upon by the Council at its Tuesday Legislative Session.

   Tuesday's agenda also includes a preliminary resolution for 11 street improvement projects for 2023. Portions of streets on the list include Oxford and Seventh Avenues, along with Maple, Omaha, Balcom, Spring, Ball, Hudson, Broadway, and Chippewa Streets (see pages 40-43 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The Council will have public hearings and votes at future meetings as specific projects are approved. The Council is also scheduled to act on an agreement to sell Lot 12 in the Sky Park Industrial Center (see pages 60-72 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet). 

Work sessions on engineering projects, fiscal stability

   After formal adjournment of each of this week's meetings, the City Council will hold a work session on Monday evening on engineering projects for 2023 and major projects in future years; and on Tuesday evening on Fiscal Stability. 

Metro loses liquor license

   Local music venue The Metro, 201 E. Lake St., lost its Combination Class B alcohol license last week after it failed to open by the Jan 3 deadline specified in a 2022 agreement with the City of Eau Claire. The Metro had closed in Feb 2020. The City has announced the availability of the license, with an application deadline of Feb 13. The Metro's sister properties also owned by Benny Haas, The Plus and the Rev on Barstow St., reopened in September 2022 and were able to retain their license.

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Jan 9, 7 p.m., Public Hearing Agenda Packet (25 pages)

 • Tuesday, Jan 10,  4 p.m., Legislative Session Agenda Packet (108 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)

Eau Claire City Council getting preview of '23 roadwork (Leader-Telegram $)

The Metro misses reopening deadline, loses liquor license (Leader-Telegram $)

Workers sue Eau Claire hotel, accuse owner of not paying overtime rates (Leader-Telegram $)


Also meeting this week: 


Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Jan 9, 6 p.m., closed session, 7 p.m. open meeting  Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

EC school board asked to support WASB resolutions (Leader-Telegram $)

EC school board continues review of administrative decisions (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories:


New Children's Museum set to open Monday (WQOW News 18)


Reed named vice chancellor for University Advancement and Alumni Relations (UW-Stout)

Reed named vice chancellor for University Advancement at Stout (Leader-Telegram $)


Small Business Development Center to offer Small Business Clinics this month (UWEC)



Eau Claire Chamber Business Matters podcast

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


Evers inaugurated, Legislature convenes

   Jan 3 was inauguration day in Wisconsin, for Governor Tony Evers and new Lt. Gov. Sara Rodriguez. In his speech, Evers asked Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues that have long divided them. The Governor and Legislature face a July deadline to adopt a 2023-25 state budget.

   The Legislative session gets underway with a reelected Democratic Governor 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.

    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.)

More information:

Gov. Evers Sworn in for Second Term as 46th Governor of Wisconsin, Delivers Second Inaugural Address (Office of the Governor)

Links to all legislative offices (Wisconsin Legislature)

Gov. Tony Evers calls for protecting abortion rights, expanding Medicaid in second inaugural address (WPR)

Republicans, conservatives criticize Evers’ inaugural address (The Center Square)

Video: 2023 Inauguration Ceremonies (Wisconsin Eye)

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

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

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


Evers to hold Budget Listening Session Jan 18 in Eau Claire

   Governor Tony Evers has announced an Eau Claire location for a series of Budget Listening Sessions around the state. "Gov. Evers has hosted listening sessions for two consecutive biennia to provide an opportunity for folks to share their ideas, discuss and give feedback on the state’s biennial budget, hear about pressing issues affecting Wisconsinites and their families, and how the state can best support local communities," notes a press release from the Governor's office.

More information:

Budget Listening Session in Eau Claire
 • Wednesday, Jan 18, at 5:30-7:00 p.m., UWEC, W.R. Davies Student Center 77 Roosevelt Ave Eau Claire, WI 54701

News release and registration information (Office of the Governor)


More state and regional stories:


Evers meets with mayors of Wisconsin’s 5 largest cities (AP)


State and Local Tax Burden Falls to New Low After $1 Billion Cut (Wisconsin Policy Forum)

Report: State and local tax burden falls to lowest share of income on record (WisPolitics.com)


Wisconsin Senate GOP leader set to unveil flat tax proposal (The Cap Times)


Sen. Kapenga: No consensus among Republicans on tax plan yet (The Center Square)


Flush with cash, Wisconsin lawmakers, governor optimistic about funding competing priorities (Wisconsin State Journal +)


GOP proposal would create new tax exemption for retirement income (The Cap Times)


Eliminating state income tax would be game-changer for Wisconsin residents, drive economic growth (Chris Reader Op-Ed, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin lawmakers hope to put bail amendment before voters in April (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Voters could decide in April if Legislature or governor should have final say over federal funds (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Projected increase in Medicaid fund balance would push state budget surplus to $6.9B (WisPolitics.com)


Evers appointees belatedly assume roles on technical college board after Republican holdovers resign (WPR)


Gov. Evers Signs Executive Order Re-establishing Non-Statutory Committees (Office of the Governor)


‘You’re treated like a criminal’: Wisconsin eyes fixes for emergency mental health system (Wisconsin Watch)


Audio: Democratic and Republican Radio Addresses

   Last week's Democratic and Republican Radio addresses were delivered by newly-inaugurated Governor Tony Evers and Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu.

   "This week represents a defining feature and an extraordinary expression of what makes our state and our country great: that the functions of democracy are derived not from any one person, any one office, or any one party, but from all of us, together," said Evers in the Democratic address.

   "We start the New Year with a projected budget surplus of almost 7 Billion dollars. We got to this point by using sound conservative budgeting practices. It was just 12 years ago the state was saddled with a multi-Billion dollar deficit. With the new budget bill being introduced in February, we look to build on our previous budget which reduced taxes, had bi-partisan support and was signed by the governor," said LeMahieu in the Republican address.

Listen to the radio addresses:

Democratic - Gov. Tony Evers (1:26)
Republican - Sen. Devin LeMahieu (1:27)


McCarthy elected US House Speaker after 15 ballots

   US Rep Kevin McCarthy was finally elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives early Saturday morning at the end of a hectic week that saw a total of 15 ballots. All six Wisconsin Republican Congressmen voted for McCarthy on all of the ballots. 

More information:

McCarthy Gets the Gavel in Dramatic Fashion (The Dispatch)

Inside the 28 minutes that saved Kevin McCarthy (Politico Playbook)

House rules package in the spotlight after Speaker vote drama (The Hill)


US Chamber calls on Congress to tackle inflation,

ensure American competitiveness

"State of American Business" address scheduled Jan 12

   "Voters recently sent a clear message that the economy and inflation are their top priorities, and lawmakers must commit to real solutions in the 118th Congress," said US Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Suzanne Clark. "The U.S. Chamber was proud to support 92 pro-business candidates, with the vast majority winning their races. We stand ready to work with them, congressional leadership, and all members of Congress to bring inflation under control, confront the threat of crime on American business, rein in regulatory overreach, and ensure America remains competitive and vibrant."

   With the new Congress now in session, Clark says "it is time to move past the sharp partisanship of campaign season and for all members of Congress to focus on the economic challenges voters made clear were top of mind."

   While the very public rifts within the Republican Party have also highlighted changes in the relationship between the US Chamber and the more populist, less business-friendly wings of the party, the US Chamber says its optimistic about prospects for progress in the new Congress.

   The US Chamber plans to highlight the "State of American Business" and outline its priorities at a free online event on Thursday, January 12, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. See the link below for more information and to register.

More information:

Calling on Congress (Suzanne Clark, President & CEO, US Chamber of Commerce)

As GOP takes House control, where does Chamber of Commerce stand? (Roll Call)

US Chamber "State of American Business"

 • Thursday, January 12, 10 a.m., Online event

    Click here to register


More national and economic stories:


Job growth expected to have cooled in December but not enough to slow Fed rate hikes (CNBC)

US job openings totaled 10.5 million in November, more than expected (CNN Business)

US job openings stayed high in sign of economic resilience (AP)


Manufacturers Concerned of Recession Threat in 2023 (NAM)


FTC proposes rule that would ban employee noncompete clauses (AP)


Restaurant owners fear less profitability as food, labor costs weigh: ‘We are scared’ (Fox Business)


Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow to retire (Axios)


Biden toughens border, offers legal path for 30,000 a month (AP)


Fed officials see higher rates for ‘some time’ ahead (CNBC)


Natural gas prices ‘sporadic and may begin toppling’ (Fox Business)


Waterfronts Are Great for Cities — When They’re Done Right (Governing)


Why Damar Hamlin is exactly what the Buffalo Bills need (GoLongTD.com)


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


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


COVID-19 Updates 


All of Wisconsin remains in 'low' or 'medium' for COVID-19 activity (FOX 11)

Flu, COVID-19 activity lowering in the Chippewa Valley (WQOW News 18)


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:


US Chamber "State of American Business"

 • Thursday, January 12, 10 a.m., Online event


Governor's Budget Listening Session in Eau Claire
 • Wednesday, January 18, at 5:30-7:00 p.m., UWEC Davies Center 


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.


State of the State Address - Gov Tony Evers

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


"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