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Agenda set for 33rd annual Superior Days

The agenda is finalized for the 33rd annual Superior Days lobbying effort.

The effort runs Feb. 21-22 in Madison.

This year the delegation will be bringing four issues to the Legislature.

Superior Days will revisit Better City Superior and developing legislation an exposition district. This year, a bill is being proposed to enable exposition districts in the cities of Superior and Eau Claire.

The exposition district would give the cities tools to bolster economic development efforts.

The bill will be introduced as a part of the Chippewa Valley Rally lobbying effort at the end of January. Superior Days will continue the lobbying effort three-weeks later.

In addition to the exposition district, other legislative issues include requesting an increase in Medicaid rates for nursing homes; increase in payment in lieu of taxes for forest lands; and a request to return local control to waterfront zoning and other water quality issues.

The Superior Days delegation will also be meeting with a number of agencies to discuss issues as well. Agency visits and meetings include Public Service Commission, Department of Corrections, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources.

Angie Dickison from the State Broadband Office will provide a workshop to delegates on how to access funding for broadband, and staff for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., will be present to offer a federal update.

Keynote speakers at the 33rd Superior Days include Mark D. O'Connell, executive director of Wisconsin Counties Association; Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System; and Morna Coy, president of Wisconsin Technical Colleges.

O'Connell provides a preview of the 2018 election year, and what to watch for as the state Assembly and Senate wrap up the session.

Cross and Coy talk about how their respective institutions are working to support economic and workforce development issues across the state.

Delegates attending the two-day lobbying effort have two opportunities to learn more about these issues.

Mayor Jim Paine and Councilor Jenny Van Sickle co-hosts a training and orientation for lobby leaders at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in Room 270 of the Government Center, 1316 N. 14th St.

"I'm getting way too much credit for it," said Paine, adding that Van Sickle came up with the idea during an early planning session.

Van Sickle said she was at a Superior Days meeting a couple of years ago when the mayor's chief of staff, Rani Gill, was looking for lobby leaders.

"I wanted to but I was too intimidated to volunteer, I wasn't sure what to expect, Van Sickle said. She learned last year, as a leader, that training or a workshop would be helpful to new leaders.

"It's important to create space and opportunities to welcome new people into the lobbying effort — it's a valuable skill," Van Sickle said.

"Superior Days is a challenging thing," Paine said. "Being that lobby leader is one of the most important roles we have down there."

He said the training will focus on making leaders effective to get some things done. It includes training leaders in how to prepare their team on the issues and how to handle debate if challenged, how to research the legislators they'll be meeting with and how to advocate for issues.

"For experienced lobby leaders and those considering a lobby leader role, we hope to build confidence, a collective knowledge, support and strategies to bring to Madison on behalf of our city and region," Van Sickle said.

An all delegation issues training takes place at 5 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Yellowjacket Union at UW-Superior.

Registration is still open to become a delegate at Superior Days, and limited hotel rooms are still available in the Superior Days room block at the Madison Concourse Hotel. Information is available at SuperiorDays.com.

For information or questions, contact Superior Days coordinator, James Anderson at (715) 395-1363.

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