{{CFirstName}}, you are receiving this e-newsletter because you have shown interest in public policy issues. Contact us if you don't want to receive future issues.

Volume 6, Issue 32, Dec 27, 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 2024 Business Issues Agenda
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


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

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 the past year and its priorities for 2024.
 • 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. 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, and to continue to 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

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
The Business Advocate is published on the first business day of each week. The next issue will be Tuesday, Jan 2.

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p  Lobby Hours: Mon-Fri 10a-2p
Closed: January 1 New Year's Day.

In this issue:
 • EC County Board defeats refugee resolution opposed by the Chamber
 • Chamber adopts 2024 Business Issues Agenda
 • EC Chamber hosting Civics Bee competition for middle school students
 • Wisconsin Supreme Court orders new legislative maps
• 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 "+"


EC County Board defeats refugee resolution 18-9
Chamber opposed move as "unnecessary and counter-productive"
   The Eau Claire County Board last Tuesday, Dec 19, defeated, by a vote of 18-9, a proposed resolution that would have asked World Relief to pause its plan to locate 75 refugees in the region and arrange an independent economic impact study.
   Earlier the same day, at its regular December meeting, the Board of Directors of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to oppose the resolution. In a letter to County Board members, the Chamber said it "believes the proposed resolution is unnecessary and counter-productive to our community’s reputation as being welcoming to new residents."
   The letter further noted that "World Relief and others involved have been completely forthcoming with information about the resettlement process. We disagree with the 'Whereas' statement in the proposed resolution that relocation of refugees 'could impact the quality of life for Eau Claire County residents due to the possibility of excessive demand on local resources…' To the contrary, experiences in other communities has shown that welcoming refugees provides positive economic benefits."
   The letter also cited excepts from the Chamber's 2024 Business Issues Agenda, also adopted that morning, with language under the Workforce Development plank regarding the role of immigration in solving the area's workforce shortage:
   "Inviting new residents to our nation and community presents a valuable opportunity for employers to offer economic prospects to individuals and families eager to forge a fresh start. It also contributes to enriching the overall quality of life for everyone in the Chippewa Valley... The Chamber is committed to ensuring that Eau Claire remains a welcoming community to those who are fleeing peril and persecution in their home countries. Our community has a history of benefiting economically and culturally from the refugees who form our Hmong community. It is important to create a nurturing environment where newcomers can flourish, becoming productive residents, and proud citizens in west central Wisconsin."
Resolution follows protests, unsubstantiated claims
   Among the Chamber's concerns about the refugee debate has been the rhetoric from opponents, much of it agitation from outside anti-immigration groups, that continues to make and repeat unsubstantiated, over-the-top claims about refugee resettlement plans and their potential impact.
   Given this environment, the Chamber's letter also included this excerpt from its 2024 Business Issues Agenda: "Respectful, fact-based debate should characterize decision making in public policy, keeping the broader public interest in mind and avoiding hyperbole, misleading information, personal attacks, and appeals to fear and emotion."
Click here to read the Chamber's full letter to County Board members

County Board roll call vote
   Here is how County Board members voted on the resolution. The number noted is the district represented by that County Supervisor. To find your own representative, click the link at the end of the list.

   Yes votes (for the resolution and against the Chamber's position): 5. Larry Hoekstra, 6. Dane Zook, 8. Cory Sisk, 9. Allen Myren, 12. Brett Geboy, 17. Thomas Vue, 19. Gerald Wilkie, 20. John Folstad, 23. Robin Leary
   No votes (against the resolution and for the Chamber's position): Todd Meyer, 2. Amanda Babb, 3. Joe Knight, 4. Stella Pagonis, 10. Nancy Coffey, 11. Nathan Otto, 13. Connie Russell, 14. Kirk Dahl, 15. Nick Smiar, 16. David Hirsch, 18. Jim  Dunning, 22. Katherine Schneider, 24. Heather DeLuka, 25. Jodi Lepsch, 26. Tami Schraufnagel, 27. Kyle Johnson, 28. Kimberly Cronk, 29. Missy Christopherson
   Absent and not voting: 7. Steve Chilson, 21. Mark Beckfield
County Board district maps and Supervisor contact information

More information:
Eau Claire County Board
• Tuesday, Dec 19,  Agenda Packet 
(Refugee resolution is on pp. 50-52)
    County Board district maps and Supervisors
Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce Letter to the County Board (EC Chamber)
County Board meeting coverage:
World Relief responds to county board concerns (Leader-Telegram $)
Resolution denied: county hopeful for partnership (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire County Board fails to pass resolution regarding refugee resettlement (WEAU 13 News)
Eau Claire County Board rejects resolution to halt refugee resettlement for economic impact study (WQOW News 18)
County may decide where ARPA funds go (Leader-Telegram $)

Refugee resettlement information:
City Council Prez Claps Back at ‘Xenophobic’ Anti-Refugee Billboard (Volume One)

WELCOMING NEWCOMERS: Valley Orgs Ready to Aid Refugees in Coming Year (Volume One)
Organizations speak in favor of World Relief and resettlement (Leader-Telegram $)
Digging Deeper: Answering your questions on refugee resettlement in the Chippewa Valley (WQOW News 18)
Frequently Asked Questions: Refugee Resettlement in the Chippewa Valley
(World Relief)
Who is a refugee and what do they go through to get to the U.S.? - World Relief (World Relief)

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 (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

More local stories...

Deadline Dec 31: Visit Eau Claire asking public to pick favorite statue in Sculpture Tour People's Choice event
(WQOW News 18)

Haven House opens at new location
(Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire day shelter Haven House opens doors in new location (WQOW News 18)
Community Haven House begins serving guests at new location (WEAU 13 News)

Regional health study results are in, but public input still sought
(WQOW News 18)
Local community health assessments continue with pop-up events (WEAU 13 News)

Eau Claire South YMCA set to open in the new year
(WEAU 13 News)

UW-Eau Claire closes Phillips Hall Dec 18 due to chemical spill
(WQOW News 18)
Phillips Science Hall evacuated following chemical spill (WEAU 13 News)

Midwest’s Largest Self-Pour Taproom to Open in Eau Claire
(Volume One)

Area pickleball complex to be largest in the state
(WEAU 13 News)
Lake Hallie breaks ground on largest pickleball complex in Wisconsin and beyond (WQOW News 18)

WEAU-TV celebrating 70 years
(WEAU 13 News)

EC Chamber to host local competition for National Civics Bee
Middle School students are eligible, essay deadline is January 8
   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 8, 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)
Application info for 6th, 7th, 8th grade students (WMC)
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)


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)

State and regional stories...

Redistricting bombshell: Supreme Court orders new legislative maps
(The Cap Times)

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Republican-drawn legislative maps (WPR)
Wisconsin Supreme Court rules legislative maps unconstitutional, orders new boundaries for 2024 vote (Journal-Sentinel +)

UW and Vos agreement is not quite a done deal
(The Cap Times)

Kwik Trip to expand its operations throughout Wisconsin
(WEAU 13 News)

Kwik Trip plans $151 million expansion of its Wisconsin operations (BizTimes)

Madison's largest affordable housing project breaks ground
(The Cap Times)

'Everybody said this was impossible': Cavalier Johnson and David Crowley reflect on passing shared revenue and local sales tax deal
(The Recombobulation Area)


National and economic stories...

Colorado Supreme Court removes Trump from state's ballot

Michigan Supreme Court won't hear appeal seeking to block Trump from state's primary ballot
(Detroit News +)

Haley returns to New Hampshire seeking to close gap with Trump less than a month before primary

Will Congress Make a Deal on Border Policy in the New Year?
(The Dispatch)

Hyperloop One Is Shutting Down, Ending a Literal Transportation Pipe Dream

Food for thought...

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

How upzoning affects housing supply and affordability: The latest research

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

Mark your calendar:

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

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