MADISON – Cooperative business directors, managers, and staff met in Madison last week for Cooperative Network’s first annual Wisconsin Co-op Day at the Capitol. Cross-sector lobbying groups met with legislators to share how certain proposals would affect their businesses and communities. Participants included Cooperative Network members from agriculture, credit union, dairy, energy, farm credit, taxi cab and other member-owned cooperatives from throughout the state.
“The goal of the grassroots event was to continue building long-term relationships with legislators and administration officials and to explain the important role cooperatives play in Wisconsin's economy,” says Patrick Murray, Cooperative Network’s Senior Government and Member Services Director.
Participants met with policymakers to discuss issues related to the Agricultural Producer Security Program, tractor rollover protective structures, funding to the livestock premises registration program and the Producer-led Watershed Grant Program, sales tax exemption for the Restoration of Power in an Emergency Program (ROPE) and support for access to rural broadband and expansion grants. Participants also thanked legislators for supporting the prize-linked savings (PLS) program and financial literacy bills, which were signed into law last year and will benefit credit unions across the state.
State agency leaders met with the full group to address co-op priorities, hear concerns and answer questions. Among those who spoke with participants were Secretary Jay Risch, Department of Financial Institutions; Assistant Deputy Secretary Keith Ripp, Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection; Deputy Secretary Bob Seitz, Department of Transportation and Joe Liebau from the Department of Natural Resources. Also meeting with the group were Senator Howard Marklein (R – Spring Green), Senate Minority Leader Jen Shilling (D – La Crosse) and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D – Oshkosh).
Cooperative Network serves approximately 400 Wisconsin and Minnesota member-cooperatives by providing advocacy, education, public awareness, and development services to a wide variety of cooperatives including agricultural marketing and processing, credit unions, dairy, electric, Farm Credit, farm supply, health care, mutual insurance, housing, service, telecommunications, worker-owned cooperatives, and more. For more information about Cooperative Network, visit www.cooperativenetwork.coop.