Gov. Tony Evers recently announced the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity has released “Rural Voices for Prosperity: A Report of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity,” which calls for coordinated measures across state government to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s rural communities.
“The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity Report reinforces the fundamental importance of broadband access to rural communities called out in MadREP’s Advance Now 2.0 five-year strategy,” said MadREP President Paul Jadin. “In addition to the positive outcomes addressed in the Commission’s report, rural K-12 education and rural healthcare will require increased access to broadband for their communities to thrive. Along with local government, rural healthcare and K-12 districts consistently rank as the largest employers in rural counties. MadREP’s five-year strategy calls for increased support of these three partners to maintain our Region’s rural economies.”
“Additional investment or opportunities to generate new revenues at the local level, along with enhancement of local economic development capacity, are critical issues which need to be considered jointly with urban and exurban interests so as to avoid a zero sum game when it comes to funding," he added. "Regional economic development, in concert with WEDC, will play a vital role in moving the needle on most of these issues.”
The report features 10 overarching recommendations that, taken together, would commit state government to a comprehensive approach to rural prosperity, create new partnerships with rural and tribal communities in the designing and delivering state services, and invest more thoughtfully to address rural Wisconsin’s critical challenges and most promising opportunities.