Rural lawmakers in Madison have unveiled a package of bills to help their districts. State Representative Ed Brooks (R-Reedsville) said the challenges facing rural Wisconsin are clear. “Rural Wisconsin is losing population, rural counties in particular, but the towns and villages and their school systems are having trouble maintaining good programs for the future,” Brooks said. “The biggest part would be finding people for the right job, making sure they have the right training.”
The “Rural Wisconsin Initiative” includes seven separate bills on items ranging from STEM education for rural schools to teacher loan forgiveness to broadband expansion grants, a bill authored by Representative Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City). “The thought process behind allocating more money towards broadband is, obviously now education is more focused with on-line learning,” Tranel said.
Brooks said he thinks there’s an opportunity to get some of the measures passed this spring. “I’m a farmer by vocation, so I’m optimistic, but realistic” Brooks said, adding that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is supportive.