Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Last month’s Governor’s Conference was a great success. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped sponsor the event. For the first time in the 22-year history of the conference, it was held outside of Madison. The move to Milwaukee was an effort to explore other options for the conference and to “test the waters” to see if we could increase interest in WEDA from our Southeast Wisconsin colleagues. While overall attendance was down, actual paid attendance was up, and due to the efforts of the local planning team, the conference was very successful financially.
Overall the conference drew good or very good ratings for content with some issues in the facilities area. These were unfortunate but can be resolved in future events. The 2018 conference will be back in Madison with a return to Milwaukee in 2019.
The other change in this year’s conference was a separation of our Legislative Day from the event. Since even numbered years are budget introduction years, the board felt that we should hold the day later in the session so that we have a better understanding of how various budget proposals would affect our members. The 2017 Legislative Day is March 29, so if this newsletter is delivered on time, you can still participate tomorrow. Call the WEDA office at 608 255-5666, if your schedule allows you to participate this year.
I applaud the efforts of the Legislative Committee and their continued involvement to engage political representatives and advocate for our legislative agenda. We had success in several areas last year, and with Michael Welsh on board as our new legislative director, I expect to have more in 2017 and beyond. WEDA’s active involvement on legislation such as the historical tax credit, tax increment financing and WEDC lending authority, has demonstrated that WEDA is at the forefront of shaping our state’s economic development policies.
To ensure WEDA’s continued success throughout this upcoming year, I encourage you to participate on a committee, attend or promote one of WEDA’s educational courses, or recommend a membership to someone in your network. We are making a concerted effort to reach out to municipalities, planners and anyone else who could benefit from being part of our professional organization. I challenge you to do your part and bring one new member to the table in 2017.
- Ed White, WEDA President