Just Another Week In Wisconsin
One of the joys of this job is realizing that our state has all sizes of cities -- from a few hundred people to a few hundred thousand. Every one is unique, special, and different, and they're all proud of the things that set them apart. Yet at the same time, I know that all our communities face challenges. We talk a lot in this newsletter about the challenges facing Milwaukee and our other urban areas, but many of our mid-sized and rural communities also wonder about their future. Though we've seen many people moving to the "ex-urbs" in the ring beyond the suburbs, empowered by telecommuting and high-speed broadband, we've also seen increasing movement into cities as young people choose walkability and trendy neighborhoods.
On Tuesday this week I was impressed to see 150 people gathered to launch the Elkhorn Economic Development Alliance, a group of people committed to seeing their community succeed in this new environment. Elkhorn is typical of many Wisconsin communities --surrounded by farms, close to lakes like Delevan and Geneva, only an hour's drive from Milwaukeeand Madison. These folks are stepping up in a big way to commit to a renewed vision for their community, with a strong downtown, as a charming feel, and as much pride in their future as their past. I appluaded everyone for their dedication and enthusiasm, and hope that they pioneer a model that sees all our communities thrive.
Earlier in the day, I went to St. Lucas School in Bayview, a pioneer in STEM education in Milwaukee. You've heard me many times discuss our technical colleges and UW schools. And in recent days I've highlighted high schools that are adopting innovative models like Milwaukee Lutheran High School or Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. But Wisconsin needs an emphasis on STEM all the way if we're going to create the workforce of the future. The talent pipeline needs to start at the front of the system, right away in elementary school. Brave to St. Lucas and other elementary schools that are getting kids excited about engineering, robots, and all the fun problems and projects that prepare them for the future.
Frontida ribbon cutting
I am always excited to see members of our Wisconsin small business community expanding. On Tuesday, I had the honor of helping Frontida Assisted Living cut the ribbon on their new facility in Kenosha. By providing a caring, family-friendly environment for the elderly and disabled, Frontida gives the Kenosha community the peace of mind to know that their loved ones are cared for.
Helping our heroes
As I continue to take the year to focus on homelessness, Wednesday I spent time with some of our nation's heroes at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) facility in Union Grove. The DVA helps our homeless veterans get back on their feet by connecting them to the services they need, be it mental health treatment or drug and alcohol counseling. Helping these heroes get back on their feet is the least we can do after the sacrifices they made in service to our nation and state.