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Wisconsin Department of Revenue secretary visits Glenwood City high school

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — Members of the Glenwood City DECA chapter got a chance to hear from a state official last Wednesday morning.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler stopped at the school the morning of October 25 to speak to DECA members in Business and Marketing teacher Carrie Hentz’s classroom. Chandler was on hand early in the morning to tell students a little bit about how he got to where he is, some of the challenges he has faced in his position, and to look through the school store.

According to a press release sent October 24, the visit was part of the governor’s Northern Economic and Community Development Summit held October 25 and 26 at the Heartwood Conference Center and Retreat in Trego.

Secretary Chandler helped the Glenwood City DECA chapter start the day Wednesday, speaking to the group from approximately 8:20 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. He told the DECA students about his education in both government and law, and about running a public policy and government relations firm in Madison for seven years.

Hentz asked Chandler about careers in the Department of Revenue, and Chandler had plenty of ideas for the students to consider, such as marketing for the lottery, accounting, and customer service.

“If you’re interested in a career in state service, there are lots of different options for how you can use your particular interests in state service,” Chandler said. “There is a wide range of things to choose from.”

Chandler explained the department is not just looking for people with good accounting skills. He indicated some of the best employees at the department revenue are the those who cannot only complete their job tasks, but are able to explain why things are done a certain way, or willing to take on leadership roles.

The revenue secretary told the class people in today’s workplace need to be able to work together and communicate well so everyone understands the processes or tasks being undertaken.

One student asked Chandler if there is anything he would have done differently during his tenure at the Department of Revenue.

“I actually sort of had the opportunity to think about things I would have done differently since I’ve been in this position twice,” the secretary explained. “I was Secretary of Revenue from 2001 into 2003, and it’s a position appointed by the governor.”

Chandler said he realized after his first term in the office, he needed to put more effort into communicating to make sure people understood what he was asking for. He also said he learned listening to employees and Wisconsin residents has helped him better understand what citizens want and will support.

After speaking to the group at large, Chandler stepped next door into the Glenwood City school store, Summit 58, with DECA president Emma Scholler and St. Croix Economic Development Corporation director Bill Rubin.

Scholler explained the store was given the name Summit 58 since Glenwood City is known as the “City of 57 hills,” making the pinnacle on which the school sits number 58.

Rubin explained the store had recently been awarded a $1,000 grant from the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation, and Scholler showed the secretary some of the new merchandise purchased for the store using the funds.

Richard Chandler’s biography page on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website indicates he was appointed to the position by Governor Scott Walker in January 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Lawrence University, and studied law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Chandler briefly practiced law in the 1980s before serving as the state’s budget director from 1987 to 2001. Former Governor Tommy Thompson tapped him for the Department of Revenue from 2001 to 2003, when Chandler started his own policy and government relations consulting firm.

The Secretary of Revenue paid a visit to the WITC power sports technician program in New Richmond after leaving Glenwood City, and had a roundtable discussion luncheon with representatives of the New Richmond Chamber of Commerce before moving on to Trego for the remainder of the week.