By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Last week, Senator Tammy Baldwin announced her new coalition: Business Leaders for Tammy. This recently formed alliance includes over 100 businesses across the state of Wisconsin such as MillerCoors, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Legacy Redevelopment Corp to name a few.
During a press conference, Baldwin was joined by representatives from MillerCoors, Fairbanks Morse and Yogi’s Pud’n. These businesses represent not only a partnership but a friendship Baldwin said.
“Together we are standing up and demanding that Washington starts working for Wisconsin businesses,” Baldwin said.
Wisconsin, Baldwin explained is known for making things. Its market ranges from cheese and beer to paper and iron, and its workers, farmers and manufacturers are some are the hardest working throughout the country.
“Day in and day out these Wisconsin businesses are putting in hard work to turn a profit, to innovate for the future and to drive our economy forward,” she said.
And like the businesses who support her, Baldwin puts forth the effort to ensure that they are being protected. However, she added, Washington is a mess, making it difficult to secure the help needed to ensure that Wisconsin continues to strive.
Additionally, over the years, Wisconsin has been subject to unfair trade deals. Baldwin cited several examples including when Canada imposed trade barriers and Wisconsin’s history with China. According to Baldwin, each time she has risen to the challenge and called them out on these injustices.
Through Business Leaders for Tammy, party members on either side are coming together to build a consensus, create an agenda and fuel growth, she said.
“I push to renegotiate NAFTA,” she said. “And to make it easier to invest in the state of Wisconsin.”
As part of her work in the Senate, Baldwin has advocated for her Buy America bills.
The goal of the bills is for the government to start buying American products and hiring American employees.
“Buy America rules are common sense and they boost Wisconsin manufacturing,” Baldwin stated.
When President Donald Trump came to Kenosha to visit Snap-On Tools last year, he told the crowd that he supports one of her Buy America bills 100 percent, Baldwin said. Baldwin hopes that this bipartisan trend continues as she plans to garner more support for her coalition and Buy America bills.
Kelly Grebe, the Chief Legal and Corporate Services Officer for MillerCoors, said Wisconsin may not be one of the biggest states, but it is among the mightiest when it comes to beer.
“Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan leadership has created an environment where businesses like ours can invest in Wisconsin and create jobs,” Grebe said.
As a brewing company, MillerCoors has dealt with high taxes and strict regulations when it comes to their use of agriculture and water. Grebe thanked Baldwin for her unwavering support when it comes to dealing with government members who seek to increase taxes on beer.
In addition to big companies like MillerCoors, Baldwin also made an effort to include smaller businesses like Yogi’s Pud’n located in Racine. Yogi Blair, the owner, took three years to master her pudding recipe and now sells over 50 flavors. She also works as an interior decorator and owns a resale shop.
“I’m proud of my small business, they create economic growth and give back to the community,” Blair said.
It’s taken a great deal of hard work and dedication for Blair to get where she is today.
But, she said, it’s not easy getting funded and many small business owners find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. Blair thanked Baldwin for always supporting local businesses.
“We need leaders like Tammy who do whatever it takes to do right by Wisconsin small businesses,” she said.