This week's conversation takes a look at where energy technology has been, and where it's going - and how government policy can help get bureaucracy out of the way of the market forces that will make our future less focused on carbon-based energy.
Rep. Neylon has been focused on economic development and innovation in emerging technologies since he was elected in 2013. Recently, that has meant taking a look at where renewable technology is, and how the free market is encouraging renewable energy sources in unprecedented ways. That's a message that's being picked up more broadly with conservative policy folks, and a message that the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum was founded to send. Scott Coenen, the WCEF's Executive Director, says the organization is in the business of "reminding our conservative friends and colleagues that sound, free market clean energy policies are well within the scope of our conservative principles."
Rep. Quinn helped start the Rural Wisconsin Initiative in 2016, to bring focus and attention to issues of rural development. Since then, rural legislators in Wisconsin have united to bridge the gap on issues of education, health care, workforce development, and internet access.
Dave Armstrong is Executive Director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation. He has been deeply involved in the nuts and bolts of rural economic development.
Together, these two talk about the outlook for rural economies and the dynamism of what some still think of as places time has passed by. Small-town businesses across the state have a vitality that has provided a backbone for the entire state's economy, and they continue to innovate.
The discussion also hits on the links between housing and development, looking at early results from Barron County's in-progress housing study and the shift in need from development to workforce participation.
Before he came to the legislature, Rep. Kurtz was already looking into the new possibilities offered by hemp legalization. Meanwhile, Larry Konopacki was helping to draft the first set of legislation that would make growing industrial hemp legal in Wisconsin. Today they discuss the outlook for hemp, the shifting federal perspective, and settle once and for all the question of which state has the best farmers.
Fabrication labs sit at the intersection of STEM education, workforce development, and rural demographic challenges. Rep. Felzkowski talks with Merrill FabLab director Josh Zalewski about the development of the FabLab model and how they bring educators, students, and the community together in a collaborative learning environment.
The Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Medicaid Reform & Oversight talks with Ben Ippolito of the American Enterprise Institute. They discuss the true costs of "Medicare for All," & how states can take a more active role in reigning in costs and expanding access.