Republican state Reps. Ed Brooks (Reedsburg), Romaine Quinn (Rice Lake), and Travis Tranel (Cuba City) testified Feb. 4 before the Assembly Committee on Mining and Rural Development on the bills that make up the Rural Wisconsin Initiative.
The bills, which aim to improve health care, educational, workforce, and technological opportunities, met with broad support from legislators, community organizations, and industry professionals.
The eight pieces of legislation boost funding for broadband expansion grants, increase available resources for youth apprenticeship grants and tuition reimbursement grants for apprenticeships, create rural opportunity zones, expand a student loan repayment program for rural teachers, encourage STEM education in rural school districts, bolster funding for the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP), and create a Broadband Forward! community certification.
“Thursday’s hearing was another big step forward for the Rural Wisconsin Initiative,” said Brooks. “It’s heartening to see these bills gain support from across the state, and I know that my colleagues and I will continue working for their passage this session and beyond if necessary. Rural Wisconsin will not be left behind.”
Twenty-one state Representatives have announced their support for the initiative, with several others signing on as co-sponsors of individual bills.
In the State Senate, Republican state Senators Howard Marklein (Spring Green), Tom Tiffany (Hazelhurst), Terry Moulton (Chippewa Falls), and Alberta Darling (River Hills) have signed on to author Senate companions.