Chamber 2019-20 Board Chair Terry McHugh speaks at April 15 Joint Finance Committee hearing in River Falls
The legislature's Joint Finance Committee held the third of its four statewide hearings on the 2019-21 State Budget last Monday, April 15, in River Falls. The legislature's budget-writing committee is the next critical step in moving UWEC's proposed Science Building forward. Governor Tony Evers has proposed including $109 million in his capital budget to begin the project. The State Building Commission, in recent party-line votes, passed the Governor's capital budget requests on to the legislature without recommendations, so its future is now in the hands of the Joint Finance Committee.
Top left: Jennifer McHugh, Royal Credit Union; Top right: Daneille Strong, Weld Riley; Bottom Left: Scott Rogers, Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce; Bottom right: Terry McHugh, Daneille Strong, Scott Rogers, Jennifer McHugh
A significant number of local business and community leaders traveled to River Falls to testify on behalf of the project. UWEC Chancellor James Schmidt was joined by Dr. Rick Helmers, the Northwest Wisconsin Region head for Mayo Clinic Health System, talking about the research partnership with Mayo that is part of the initiative. Three members of the Board of Regents with local ties, Chair John Behling, Regent Jason Plante, and Student Regent Ryan Ring presented information about the full UW System request, with emphasis on the value and importance of the UWEC project. Also making presentations were Terry McHugh, the Eau Claire Chamber's 2019-20 Board Chair, who is Vice President and General Manager of WEAU 13 News; Scott Rogers, the Chamber's Governmental Affairs and Workforce Director; Daneille Strong, Attorney with Weld Riley, and Jennifer McHugh, Director of Public Affairs & Financial Education for Royal Credit Union, who is also the 2019-20 Chair of the Chamber's Governmental Affairs Committee. Also present were Matt Frisbie, Vice President of Architecture for Ayres Associates; Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters; UWEC Student Body President Branden Yates; and UWEC Student Senate Governmental Affairs Director Charlie Johnson. Eau Claire City Council Member Emily Berge also spoke on behalf of the Science Building project.
The Joint Finance Committee has 12 members, with equal representation from both the Assembly and the Senate. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) is the only member of the committee from West Central Wisconsin. Other local legislators attended the hearing, including Senators Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) and Patty Schachtner (D-River Falls) and Representatives Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) and Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond). The JFC's final hearing will be April 24 in Green Bay. It also had sessions on April 5 in Janesville and April 10 in Oak Creek.
Also last week, Governor Tony Evers held a Budget Round Table in Eau Claire on Tuesday evening, April 16, that drew about 100 people.
Budget panel hears campus pleas for buildings (Hudson Star Observer)
Recorded video of River Falls JFC Hearing (Wisconsin Eye)
Western Wisconsin residents weigh in on budget proposal, Evers offers warning to Republicans (WQOW News 18)
Governor listens to budget wishes of area residents (Leader-Telegram)
Gov. Evers listens to people of the Chippewa Valley ahead of budget deadline (WEAU 13 News)
Posted by Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.