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Senator Moulton’s column: Chippewa Valley Rally

With all of the attention related to the Governor’s Budget Proposal, I haven’t yet had a chance to discuss the Chippewa Valley Rally, which happened on January 28th. The Chippewa Valley Rally is an annual event when dozens of Chippewa Valley citizens from Dunn, Chippewa, and Eau Claire Counties come to Madison and promote life and business in our area, highlighting the issues affecting our region.

Throughout the day, my colleagues and I met with a variety of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders who shared their ideas for state-local partnerships that would help the Chippewa Valley. One of their key issues was supporting our regional institutions of higher learning, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, and Chippewa Valley Technical College. We can all agree that these institutions do the important work of preparing a talented workforce, especially for hard-to-fill positions in our region, such as manufacturing, health care, and information technology.

Additionally, they discussed the economic contributions that sand mining has provided to our region. Sand mining has created many jobs throughout the region and has led to improvements along many of the rail lines in our area. These rail lines are used by a variety of shipping industries and their improvements have helped a number of industries to grow.

The Chippewa Valley Rally also included a luncheon with Governor Walker, who presented his plan to provide $15 million in funding for the Eau Claire Confluence Project. This public-private partnership promises economic and educational benefits for all of west-central Wisconsin by creating a new retail and residential development, along with a performing arts center, in downtown Eau Claire next to the rivers.

The Rally also highlighted several state government initiatives improving life in west-central Wisconsin. The Healthy Jobs Act I authored last session provides incentives to small employers to promote wellness programs. This program saves small businesses healthcare dollars while promoting a healthier workforce. The maintenance projects being completed on I-94 will help to ensure that this important transportation corridor remains vital in the coming years. Wisconsin Fast Forward grants are designed to work with local employers and schools to provide the training required to fill needed roles.

Coming up next month is Central Wisconsin Days, an event similar to the Chippewa Valley Rally, put on by folks from Adams, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, and Wood Counties. I look forward to hearing their presentation and working together to improve life in Central Wisconsin.

As I have done since I took office, I will continue to look for long-term solutions that will protect the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin, create jobs, promote small businesses, and move Wisconsin forward. As always, if you have questions or comments about any state-related issues, you can contact me at or (888) 437-9436.