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Community Corner: On the state's economic recovery
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There’s good reason for optimism about continued economic recovery in the Badger State.

It isn’t just official reports like the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent confirmation that Wisconsin gained 19,000 jobs last year. Our local weeklies bring news of Culver’s revived expansion, cheese producers growing all across southwest Wisconsin, potential wind energy jobs, and fewer vacant storefronts in our downtown corridors.

Our message is reaching the business world: Wisconsin offers a quality workforce, solid infrastructure, great schools and hospitals, and safe, vibrant communities. To continue the recovery in our region, we’re enhancing the message to employers by making Wisconsin a more attractive place for investment, relocation, and worker recruitment.

During the 2011–12 legislative session, I voted for numerous bills to further improve our business climate and emphasize the message: Wisconsin is open for business.

Most of this pro-jobs legislation passed with support from Republicans and Democrats. Our greatest successes from the past session happened when legislators from both parties worked together. We created targeted incentives only available to businesses committed to creating jobs here. We passed reforms that stabilized the environment for employers by reducing permitting delays, costly overregulation, risks of litigation, and burdensome taxes. We got it done with compromise and consensus.

Only when we move beyond the instability of hyperpartisan politics and recall mania can we continue forward in repairing our state. The answer to fixing our brand isn’t tearing each other down again and enacting policy without first consulting the public. To attract more investment, grow more jobs and move Wisconsin forward, we must get back to doing things the Wisconsin Way. That means we communicate, build relationships and invite all the stakeholders to the table.

Despite the many tests we face, there is cause for hope and optimism. By working together we can get the results we desire, like more sustainable jobs and increased opportunity in our communities, a fair and efficient government, and a workforce and citizenry capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.