Senator Kapenga's E-Update
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What is the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin?

Click on the picture above to watch the video.

Wisconsin companies make an impressive and incredibly diverse list of products, from U.S. Navy combat vessels and Harley Davidson motorcycles to the world’s best cheese and great beer to wash it down with. Now the Statewide Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Johnson Financial Group, wants Wisconsinites to vote on which of those thousands of products is the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which is the state’s combined Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers’ Association, encourages people to nominate a Wisconsin-made product by visiting Nominations are currently being accepted and will end August 31 with voting beginning in September. Johnson Financial Group is sponsoring the contest.

The winner will be announced on October 18 at the State of Wisconsin Business Luncheon Event. The date was selected because it is in October, which has been designated as Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin by Governor Walker since 2012. The goal of both Manufacturing Month and the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest is to celebrate Wisconsin’s largest business sector (20% of state GDP) and to promote manufacturing careers.

State Health Care Ranks Among Best

Wisconsin continued to hold its place as one of the best states in the nation based on the quality of its health care.

According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Wisconsin is the third most highly-rated state in the country, with overall health care quality scores that closely followed Maine and Massachusetts. The rankings are based on close to 200 measures that AHRQ uses to evaluate health care performance.

“The AHRQ rankings are a national validation of what we know here; Wisconsin’s local and regional health systems are delivering some of the best care in the country,” according to Wisconsin Hospital Association President/CEO Eric Borgerding.  “Across the continuum of care, in rural and urban settings, we are maintaining consistently high performance, while striving to set even higher standards of care. It is that combination of performance and commitment to be better that makes Wisconsin a perennial leader.”

Wisconsin has shown consistently high performance since AHRQ started the state rankings in 2006. As AHRQ has evolved the rankings to include more health care sectors and new measures Wisconsin’s performance ranking has seen little change.

While Wisconsin's health care ranks among the best, we still have work to do when it comes to slashing health care costs. A recent study found that Wisconsin has the second-highest medical prices in the country, only behind Alaska. The study by the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit organization created to make claims data from health insurers available to researchers, found that prices for 235 common medical services grouped as "care bundles," ranging from basic tests to back surgery, were on average 81 percent higher in Wisconsin than the national average.

The Legislature must remain committed to finding ways to make health care more affordable in our state. This will be one of my priorities during the upcoming legislative session.

Labor Data Shows Promising Results for Waukesha

More good news, as reported in the Waukesha Freeman:

As new opportunities become available, prospective employees and employers in Waukesha County have felt the benefits throughout the past year.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen released preliminary data by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics on Monday, which showed steady growth within the private sector across the state throughout the past year.

Waukesha County saw a slight decrease in unemployment rates, going from 4.1 percent in June 2015 to 3.9 percent this past June. The story is much of the same in the city of Waukesha, with the unemployment rate dipping from 4.5 percent last June to 4.2 percent last month.

Waukesha County Business Alliance Vice President Amanda Payne said the new data is on par with what her organization has found through questionnaires.

"Being second in the Midwest matches up with what we're hearing from employers," Payne said. "We did a countywide survey in the fall of 2015 and 84 percent of respondents said they plan to expand their staff within the next three years and 72 percent said they plan to expand their physical space in the next three years. Based on that, the results are spot-on. Private sector job growth has been big in Waukesha."

Another indicator of our state's strong economy is that Wisconsin's labor force participation rate of 68.5 percent continues to outpace the U.S. rate of 62.7 percent in June 2016. However, when compared with other western countries, the U.S. labor force participation rate is behind the curve. That is why we must continue to reduce the burden of government on small businesses and workers in order to enable the free market to flourish.

Today in History

1896 - The city of Miami is incorporated.
1932 - President Herbert Hoover orders the U.S. Army to evict the "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans who had gathered in Washington, D.C., seeking cash payments for bonus certificates the government had issued.
1945 - A U.S. Army bomber crashes into the seventy-ninth floor of the fog-shrouded Empire State Building, killing more than a dozen people.
Connect with Chris

(608) 266-9174
(800) 863-8883

33rd Senate District
15 South
State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53708
Listening Sessions
Pewaukee Listening Session
Wednesday, August 17
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pewaukee Village Hall

Dousman Listening Session
Wednesday, September 14
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dousman Village Hall

Delafield Listening Session
Wednesday, October 19
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Delafield Town Hall

Waukesha Listening Session
Wednesday, November 16
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Waukesha City Hall
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