Mayor Gary Doudna thanks Governor Scott Walker for choosing Montello for his listening session location.
Photography for City of Montello done by Bob Haase. www.flickr.com/photos/bob_haase
Letter from the Governor Walker:
November 14, 2016
Dear Fellow Wisconsinite,
Thank you for being a part of our listening sessions this year. We held extended sessions in every county and every part of the state. Over 2,100 people came to the sessions. I am grateful for your feedback about the future of our great state.
The sessions included students, retirees, educators, small business owners, local officials, school board members, farmers, clergy, health care professionals, veterans, bankers, insurance agents, union officials, nonprofit leaders and many others. Although the sessions were held in different parts of the state, there were common themes.
Workforce issues came up time and time again. With the unemployment rate at a 15-year low and more people employed this year than ever before, it makes sense that employers are looking for help. In fact, Wisconsin has one of the highest percentages of people working of any state in the country.
People at the listening sessions talked about the importance of a good K-12 education. They spoke of the importance of encouraging various career choices. This fits in well with the Academic and Career Plans that the state is funding as early as sixth grade in our public schools to help students to start making career plans. In addition, your apprenticeships have more than doubled. It also fits in the dual enrollment and course options programs we support to help students receive credit for higher education while finishing off high school.
We will continue to look for more ways to put resources into our schools to support programs like this in the next state budget.
There is also high demand for spots in our technical colleges across the state. We added more funding this spring to increase the number of students in high demand occupations. We will do more in the future, and we are looking for ways to increase support to the University of Wisconsin system to also target high-demand areas.
Infrastructure was another issue frequently raised during the listening sessions. In rural areas, broadband was brought up at every stop. In the last state budget, we tripled the amount for broadband access grants, but we will look for a major increase to help cover the entire state. Increased access to broadband allows rural areas to compete for jobs and talent.
We also heard a great deal about good local roads, clean water and preserving our natural resources. The recent budget proposal from the state Department of Transportation includes the largest increase in aid to local governments for roads and bridges in over a decade. We are also looking for ways to protect our clean water supplies and other natural resources.
As mentioned at several of the listening sessions, we are going to collect all of the ideas and issues brought up at the listening sessions around the state and reach out to various statewide organizations, like those representing school boards, local governments, small business, churches, veterans, farmers, and others to see what they are willing to do over the next 20 years to reach these goals.
If you get a chance, visit walker.wi.gov, and see a map showing all the communities we visited. Also, watch for some exciting announcements regarding the initiatives we plan to introduce as a result of the 2020 Vision Project.
Once again, thank you for joining us at a listening session! I am grateful for your help as we work to keep moving Wisconsin forward.
Governor, State of Wisconsin
Click here for an electronic version of Governor Walker’s letter.