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Legislative outreach about 'building relationships'

Prescott Mayor Mark Huber consults with Michelle Dingwall, executive director of the Menomonie Area Chamber, before beginning visits with legislators Tuesday afternoon.1 / 2
Rep. John Murtha (R-Baldwin) and aide Alicia Schweitzer spent 20 minutes receiving a briefing on the issues with Bill Rubin, executive director of St. Croix County Economic Development Corporation. (Rivertowns photos by Steve Dzubay). 2 / 2

As if they'd planned fireworks over Madison to highlight the fact Western Wisconsin is on the move, 30 representatives from four counties who traveled to the state Capitol had the sweet success of a new business expansion to tap as a pick-up line as they nosed their way into lawmakers' offices.

While en route from Hudson and Menomonie in two rented vans and several cars, word was received Gov. Scott Walker's office had just announced the expansion of Providence, RI-based United Natural Foods Inc. into Prescott. The project is expected to bring 314 well-paying jobs, a Gold LEED-certified building project valued at $37 million and the buzz of a business segment Wall Street says is poised for growth.

People representing local chambers of commerce, economic development, municipalities and business in Pierce, St. Croix, Polk and Dunn counties signed on for a 15-hour day for the chance to raise awareness and influence policy-makers to regional needs and wants.

St. Croix EDC Director Bill Rubin joked "small countries in Central America have probably been overthrown with less planning" than went into the visit to Madison.

Rubin and his counterparts from Dunn- (Eric Turner), Polk- (Steve Healy) and Pierce- (Heather Hines) held several teleconferences after surveying members to arrive at the 12 major initiatives the participants carried along in printed literature and face-to-face messages to each senator, representative or a respective staff member.

The 2014 legislative priorities focused on three themes--economic development, transportation- infrastructure and workforce-education, including:

For more please read the Feb. 19 print version of the Pierce County Herald or the Feb. 20 print version of the River Falls Journal.  

Steve Dzubay

Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer from 1995-2016. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.