All eyes on Washington
This week Democrats won both U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia, giving the party a majority in both U.S. congressional chambers as Joe Biden prepares to be sworn in Jan. 20 as our nation’s 46th president. The task ahead for the former VP is a tall one, as he inherits a nation so politically polarized that violent extremists attacked the U.S. Capitol Wednesday in an attempt to stop Biden’s election victory from being certified. “Violence never wins,” declared current vice president Mike Pence, who presided over the certification proceedings that were pushed late into Wednesday night and early Thursday morning because of the disruption but eventually resulted in Biden’s certification. Five people, including one U.S. Capitol police officer, are dead as a result of Wednesday’s unprecedented breach. (NBC News)
In Wisconsin news…
…Wisconsin surpassed 5,000 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday as the state appears to lag somewhat behind other Midwest states in vaccine distribution. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has released a Wisconsin rollout plan that anticipates the launch of Phase 1B (individuals aged 75 and up) in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, some medical professionals are calling the state’s rollout of Phase 1A (for frontline health care workers and skilled nursing facilities) “chaotic.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
…yesterday the Wisconsin Assembly passed Bill 1, which includes a key provision eyed by the business community that grants immunity to responsible organizations from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits. However, the full bill is opposed by Gov. Tony Evers as well as Senate Republicans and is not expected to become law. The state legislature has failed to pass any pandemic-related legislation since April. (Associated Press)
…Amy Pechacek is Wisconsin’s new Secretary of Workforce Development after she led the agency on an interim basis and successfully cleared a substantial backlog of unemployment claims to end 2020. Caleb Frostman was asked to resign the position in September after an audit of the agency identified numerous operational problems. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
…TODAY is the deadline to complete the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Economic Outlook Survey. Participation in this simple, 25-question assessment will provide critical insight for our region as Elliot Eisenberg prepares to deliver his annual economic insights Feb. 2.
…the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recently released a new guidance in its “Stay Safe, Stay Open” toolkit that relates to mental health in the workplace. “It’s important as we head through this winter that everyone stays healthy – both mentally and physically,” says WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.
…WEDC has also announced a virtual Global Trade Venture to Canada March 22-26 to help companies make connections in the country that currently serves as Wisconsin’s largest export market. During the virtual venture, participants will be paired for one-on-one meetings with potential customers, agents, distributors, and other market intermediaries.
...Speaking of exports: As of November, Wisconsin exports are now down $1.4 billion from 2019, according to data released yesterday by the Census Bureau. (Milwaukee Business News)
...Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has reportedly been tabbed by President-elect Joe Biden to succeed Wilbur Ross as the nation's commerce secretary. (The Hill)
Close to home…
… the Packers have announced that they will allow 6,000 fans to attend Green Bay’s first-round playoff game at Lambeau Field Jan. 16 or 17, marking the first time all season the stadium will be accessible to ticketholders. (Green Bay Press Gazette)
…Volunteer Fox Cities is hosting an MLK Day service event Jan. 18 in a fun “Mystery Mission” format.
…SmartAsset has ranked Appleton 26th and Neenah 35th on its 2021 list of America’s “Most Fitness-Friendly Places.”
Happy weekend from your Chamber!