For too long James has heard folks say Northern Wisconsin is a great place to visit but a tough place to make a living. We need good, family sustaining jobs here in the 74th district. James has a vision for how we can attract companies and employers to Northern Wisconsin and bring more jobs to our district. We have an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreation that many employers want for their employees. We have a hard-working, bright workforce. We raise some of the best kids in the county only to see them leave the area for work and better opportunity. We need to do a better job of promoting all that we have to offer companies who move operations here.
There are challenges however. We need to address transportation issues. James will advocate for investment in the short line railroad between Phillips, Hurley, Ashland and Superior. This will make it easier to get raw material into the district while opening international markets for products coming from Northern Wisconsin as well. For decades business leaders in Northern Wisconsin have lobbied to make Hwy 2 a four-lane highway and each year we are told that it is a few years off. It is time that project moved to the forefront. We need to make sure that incentives offered by state agencies are tailored fairly. We need to balance these programs so that companies looking to invest in rural northern communities can get the same benefits often realized by those investing in larger, mostly urban areas.
James has served on the Bayfield County Economic Development Corporate board of directors and played an integral role in Bayfield County receiving the first ‘Telecommuter forward’ certification in the U.S. Broadband is critical to progress. It can play a key role in healthcare, education, economic development, business attraction and so much more. There are challenges to bringing strong broadband service to rural areas, especially within the 74th district. James will fight to make sure smaller, rural providers get funding to bring broadband into areas that currently do not have broadband as well as underserved areas. It is important to to eliminate roadblocks to broadband distribution and work to make broadband access more affordable.
Small businesses are the life-blood of the 74th Assembly District. Now, more than ever, we need someone who understands the challenges unique to businesses here in Northern Wisconsin. The economic impact of coronavirus and the resulting shutdowns is staggering. According to a WisPolitics article on May 5, 2020, the shutdown costs the State of Wisconsin 178.9 million dollars in lost GDP every day. The SBA and the Governor himself estimated that nearly 35 percent of all small businesses would not survive the effects of the safer at home order. Business owners faced with losing a business they have poured their sweat and tears to build. Thousands of families dealing with lost dreams and lost jobs. Budget shortfalls for municipalities, counties and the state.
We need a representative who comes from business, who not only understands business, but who lives it. James and his wife Heather have operated a small resort just outside of Cable for the past 23 years. James also spent 12 years as the director of a chamber of commerce, focused on assisting and promoting small businesses here in Northern Wisconsin. He will draw on his years of experience to promote ideas that work for Northern Wisconsin and push for legislation that helps small businesses get up and running again.
Access to quality and affordable healthcare is an important issue for every family, especially in rural areas of the state. People need to be able to get in to see their doctor for checkups and when they’re sick. That’s why James wants to make sure folks with pre-existing conditions can get coverage and will work to find ways to reduce costs and increase access. As the state continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown supporting rural hospitals and doctors will be crucial.
Tourism is one of the biggest drivers of our economy and James knows tourism. For 23 years, James and his family have operated the Lake Owen Resort just outside of Cable. James also ran the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2018. He served 8 years on the Governor Council on Tourism and was honored with the Governors Service Excellence Award in 2016. James understands the challenges that are unique to tourism and will always advocate for policies that help the tourism industry. James will also work to make sure the state’s tourism marketing dollars are spent wisely and deliver the type of return on investment that tourism, especially Northern Wisconsin tourism needs. James will be a true champion of tourism in Madison.
James wants to see the hardworking individuals and families in the district keep more of the dollars they earn. He believes government has a responsibility to make sure it spends your tax dollars wisely and as efficiently as possible. If you scrutinize how you spend every penny of your own money, shouldn’t your government scrutinize how it is spending someone else’s money?
Madison has a money problem. Not that they do not have enough, it’s that not enough of the money we send to Madison comes back to the district. We need a representative in Madison who will stand up for the people of the 74th district and make sure our tax dollars come back to the district. James will make sure that our state budget and our state agencies direct more money back to Northern Wisconsin. Madison has a tendency to forget about us. James will make sure that doesn’t happen.