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Area volunteers participate in United St. Croix Valley legislative event in Madison

Patti Robertson, left, and Beth Waldhart, right, visited with State Rep. John Murtha as part of United St. Croix Valley Legislative Day at the State Capitol. Robertson is first vice president of the St. Croix Economic Development Corp. and Waldhart is with the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Submitted photo

Thirty volunteers from St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties participated in the fourth annual United St. Croix Valley legislative event Feb. 4 in Madison.

Members of the group attended over 70 appointments in two- and three-person teams in the Capitol, and ended the day in Gov. Jim Doyle's conference room by meeting with two of his associates.

Several people stayed in Madison for the annual Governor's Conference on Economic Development at Monona Terrace. On Feb. 5, the group met with Richard Leinenkugel, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

The volunteers promoted issues relating to economic development, transportation and workforce/education, including the consolidation of the state's tax credit programs, the expansion of Act 255 (tax credits to "angel investors" and certain equity funds), creating awareness for the St. Croix River Crossing project and improvements to Hwy. 8, and funding for a technical college initiative called Next Generation Workforce.

Patti Robertson, St. Croix EDC's first vice president, chaired this year's legislative event.

"Given our distance to Madison, it is imperative that we organize an advocacy event that is comprised primarily of leaders from the three-county region," said Robertson. "Our meetings were productive. State senators and representatives are better informed of the issues impacting the St. Croix Valley. Over the last four years, there is improved awareness of our region."

Other members of the EDC's legislative committee are Dale Jorgenson, Nick Vivian and Ken Kolbe.

A legislative booklet was presented at the start of each appointment. Each meeting lasted about 30 minutes. Appointments this year were limited to legislators representing the three counties, key committee chairs, members of the Joint Committee on Finance and first-time legislators. All senators and representatives received an electronic summary of the issues.

Attending from the three-county area were Jayne Brand (Prescott), Bill Warner (River Falls), Nicholas Vivian (New Richmond), Beth Waldhart (Eau Claire), Patti Robertson (Hudson), John Kleven (River Falls), Peg Skogen (Elmwood), Rosanne Bump (River Falls), Dale Jorgenson (River Falls), Frank Borg (Menomonie), Randy Hulke (Menomonie), Trudy Popenhagen (Hudson), William Rubin (Hudson), Char Gurney (Eau Claire), Mike Dieckman (Eau Claire), Russ Korpela (New Richmond), Michael Stifter (River Falls), Blake Fry (River Falls), Dale Braun (River Falls), Don Richards (River Falls), Leslie Bleskachek (New Richmond), Joe Hegge (River Falls), Greg Koehler (River Falls), William Berndt (River Falls), Pat Dillon (Eau Claire), Larry Gee (New Richmond), Jim Zeller (Roberts), Terry McKay (River Falls), Linda Clark (Eau Claire), Ryan Sicard (Somerset), Jeremy Price (Hudson) and Roger Humphrey (Hudson).

For more information, contact St. Croix EDC at (715) 381-4383.