–submitted by Bob Dinndorf; photo by John Bonsett-Veal
Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch discussed our State government’s commitment to making Wisconsin a great place for employers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and workers through tax relief and especially job training.
The Lt. Governor is a former small business owner and news reporter. Widely credited for coining the phrase, “Wisconsin is Open for Business,” LG Kleefisch has played a key role from day one in business growth and retention in Wisconsin.
As Wisconsin’s “Jobs Ambassador” and leader of the Governor’s Small Business Summits and Tax Reform Roundtables, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch touched on a range of topics that could be characterized as “overcoming adversity.” She opened with her personal story about how she staged her run for the Lieutenant Governor’s seat. Rejected by her own party as a candidate, she ran in the 2010 primary against three opponents. At that same time, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Still hospitalized on Election Day, she was released to vote on the condition that she return for continuing treatment. She did and won on two fronts: the election by 21 percentage points and successful treatment of her cancer.
In terms of overcoming economic adversity, the Lt. Gov. quoted a Wall Street Journal headline: “Uncertainty is the enemy of recovery” as a means of characterizing the Wisconsin approach to economic recovery. She stated “we’ve given families and businesses certainty” and cited several measures illustrating that result in Wisconsin unemployment at 4.8%; 156,000 people have gone back to work and that local property taxes have been lowered.
A continuing issue is the skills gap in Wisconsin that prevents many jobs from being filled. She asked Rotarians to check out the website http://www.jobcenterofwisconsin.com which displays 84,915 jobs are unfilled in Wisconsin at the time of the Rotary meeting (the number had increased to 85,206 less than an hour following our Club’s meeting as this summary was being written). The site will be enhanced soon to add even more job postings aggregated from other sites. As part of the solution, she said “Wisconsin has a fantastic technical college system.” Ultimately, the goal is about fulfilling our State motto: Forward!