Governor Evers announces appointments to Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity
Panel will hold listening sessions, make recommendations on rural resilience.
MADISON, WI, JUNE 8, 2020 – Governor Tony Evers today named leaders from around the state to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity.
The governor announced he was creating the commission during his State of the State speech in February. The governor noted it fulfilled a campaign promise he had made to develop long-term strategies “on how we can best support the needs of rural Wisconsinites and rural communities.”
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Wisconsin’s rural communities were facing challenges to their very survival,” Governor Evers said. “It is more important than ever to listen to the concerns of our rural residents and support them in finding solutions.”
The commission members include:
- Bob Atwell, President & CEO, Nicolet National Bank, Green Bay
- Thelma Heidel Baker, Owner Bossie Cow Farm, Random Lake
- Brittany Beyer, Executive Director, Grow North, Rhinelander
- Pamela Boivin, Executive Director and Loan Officer, NiiJii Capital Partners, Inc. (NiiCaP), Keshena
- David Falk, General Manager, ND Paper, Biron
- Tom Landgraf, Principal, Dimension Development, LLC, Madison
- Rachel Sauvola, Agriscience Teacher, New Richmond High School, New Richmond
- Lauren Thompson, Co-President, Wisconsin 4-H Leadership Council, Woodville
- Gina Tomlinson, CEO, Cochrane Co-op Telephone Company, Cochrane
- Susan Townsley, Clinical Social Worker, Stonehouse Counseling, Viroqua
- Jeff Tucker, Vice President of Business Development & Care Innovation, Marshfield Clinic, Eau Claire
- Cheu Vang, Owner, Vang C&C Farms, Jefferson
The commission is expected to hold listening sessions around the state later this summer on the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities and businesses, as well as the challenges and opportunities the pandemic has created. The commission’s recommendations will help to form the biennial state budget, which Governor Evers will introduce early next year.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will provide logistical and administrative support to the commission. In his State of the State address this year, Governor Evers directed WEDC to create the Office of Rural Prosperity, and the organization recently named Kelliann Blazek as the first director of the office.
“WEDC is committed to helping rural communities and businesses in our state build long-term resilience,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “By exploring new economic opportunities and improving the quality of life we can help rural communities weather the current conditions and emerge stronger for future generations.”
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The Workforce Innovation Grant (WIG) Program, with grant rounds announced in January and June 2022, aims to help communities throughout Wisconsin solve their most pressing workforce challenges by financially supporting collaborative, sustainable and innovative plans developed by regional organizations.
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One out of three Adams County residents are 65 years old and older (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). “Adams County is known as a desirable place to retire with the beautiful lakes and vast activities like campgrounds, golf courses, and places to dine. Without reliable child care, parents and caregivers may be faced with having to leave the workforce to care for their children, young children left home alone, or sending children to unregulated child care providers,” said Tina Smith, Foster Care Social Worker.
Office of Rural Prosperity joins DOA and Tourism Secretaries to highlight importance of creative economy with local arts and culture tour
Prairie du Sac, Sauk City, and Spring Green, Wis. – On Thursday, June 23, Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld and Department of Tourism Secretary-designee Anne Sayers met with eight organizations in Southwest Wisconsin to discuss the role of creative organizations and businesses in Wisconsin’s economy and their impact on the pandemic recovery. Governor Tony Evers has made a historic investment for the tourism and entertainment industries totaling over $200 million, the latest of which invested over $20 million to support Tourism Capital Investment statewide.