FRI AM News: Chancellors advocate for R&D investment, Endless Frontier Act; ‘WisBusiness: The Podcast’ features JD Uhler, XP League

— The chancellors of Wisconsin’s top two research universities are pushing for investment in more R&D.

“The only way that we stay at the front end of the world economy is by being on the front end in innovation,” UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said, adding that other countries in key tech areas are ahead or even lapping the U.S. “That may not show up today; in another decade or two it’s going to show up really strongly as to where the new startups are, where the growing businesses are.”

Blank is also the former deputy secretary and acting Secretary of Commerce under President Obama. She advocated for the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act and other forms of reinvestment in R&D in a recent Wisconsin Technology Council event. 

“We have faltered, and we have faltered in part because we have not grown our research and our innovation networks as fast as some other places,” she said.

The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by GOP U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, calls for $100 billion to build resources in advancing science and technology research and development nationwide. It also proposes expansion of the National Science Foundation and $10 billion for regional technology hubs. Those hubs would help to launch companies, revive U.S. manufacturing and create jobs that jump-start communities.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone said Wisconsin and the region can be one of the centers for excellence to come out of the Endless Frontier Act. The bill, which has been rolled into a larger infrastructure package in Congress, also has support from Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Read the full story at 

— The new episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features JD Uhler, the Madison XP League Commissioner. 

XP League is an esports — organized video gaming — league for kids. XP League in Madison is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and was founded in 2020. Uhler is expanding XP League into Brookfield and Waukesha.

“It was definitely a product of the pandemic. With lots of sports being shut down or ending up being delayed … we found this as a great opportunity for kids to stay playing in a sport, in a team, competitively, getting coached and we do it safely,” he said.

The XP League is hosting a regional tournament in Madison in June. 

“Esports is a multimillion-dollar industry growing across the world and the country,” he said. “What gets exciting for me about this as an opportunity is that anybody can play it. It opens up doors to taking away the athletic gifts and looking at some other gifts people have such as teamwork, attitude and communication.”

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has signed AB 27, which allows the Public Service Commission to authorize up to $900,000 annually in funding to the Citizens Utility Board from Wisconsin’s investor-owned utilities.

CUB acts as an advocate for ratepayers in cases before the PSC.

See the release:

— GOP state Rep. Gae Magnafici, R-Dresser, is circulating a bill that would prohibit businesses from refusing to serve anyone based on whether they’d been vaccinated.

The bill comes as some private businesses have been working on developing “vaccination passports” to identify customers who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. The Biden administration has not advocated for a vaccination passport, but officials have said they’re working with private companies on their initiatives.

See the bill:

— The final Wisconsin Farmers Union “Meat-ing” webinar will focus on marketing. 

The free event will feature panelists: Leslie Svacina, a meat goat farmer at western Wisconsin Cylon Rolling Acres; Scott Blubaugh, president of the Oklahoma Farmers Union and owner of Blubaugh Angus Ranch; Vanessa Miller, Oneida Nation Sanitarian; and Kyle Wisneski, supervisor of the Oneida Nation Tsyunhehkwa Organic Farm.

Participants will also hear about creative marketing opportunities such as the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin and Something Special from Wisconsin programs.

“Over the past few months, this series has drawn hundreds of attendees into conservations around the challenges and opportunities around meat processing, and this final event will showcase how taking a creative approach to marketing can increase a farmer’s bottom line and build up local food systems,” said WFU Membership & Education Organizer Kirsten Slaughter.


— DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski joined five other Midwestern states encouraging people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when they are eligible.

As warmer weather returns and our nation’s agricultural communities gear up for summer events, the six ag department leaders thanked essential agricultural and food workers who have not stopped working during the pandemic. 

They also shared that the three vaccines on the market — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are safe and effective. They also emphasized the importance of continued mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Watch the video: 

— DWD warned it has seen a “significant increase” in recent days of attempts to trick people out of their Unemployment Insurance.

The agency in a press release yesterday said it’s received reports of a phishing scam by the fake account calling itself the “Wisconsin Department of Workforce” and requesting people’s unemployment benefits information.

People should also watch out for similar scams on social media sites like Facebook, according to DWD, with fake department accounts popping up and interacting with residents. DWD said all of its legitimate sites have a blue check mark on their official social media accounts indicating a verified account.

See more:

— Amtrak envisions adding service to Madison, Green Bay and Eau Claire as part of a possible expansion over the next 15 years.

The three cities were marked for new lines on a map Amtrak released as part of its vision for 2035 to add 20 million passengers to the 32 million it had in 2019.

See the overview and the map:

— WEDC is organizing its fifth virtual trade venture in Poland.

The venture will consist of online meetings taking place from June 14-25. Past ventures connected Wisconsin companies to potential partners in Canada, Germany, South Korea and Mexico. 

“With a virtual trade venture, Wisconsin companies can continue to forge new relationships in overseas markets and strengthen their exporting efforts,” said Katy Sinnott, WEDC vice president of global trade and investment. “The one-on-one meetings with potential partners online and additional tools provided by WEDC ensure that the venture is a successful experience for all participating companies.”

Poland ranks No. 1 in its region in both GDP and market size. Despite the country’s economic strength, its trade ties with Wisconsin have been underdeveloped, according to WEDC. Now those ties are growing rapidly. In January, Wisconsin exports to Poland topped $14.1 million, whereas they reached just $5.8 million in January 2020 before the pandemic disrupted international trade.

Sectors of Wisconsin’s economy with the greatest export potential in Poland include industrial machinery, electronic equipment, medical equipment, plastics and chemicals.

Register before April 16: 

See a recent story on WEDC’s international efforts at 


# World Dairy Expo to stay in Madison

# Health official: Local mask mandates a question for elected leaders

# Pick ‘n Save parent Kroger eyes a future with meal kits, ghost kitchens and fast-casual service



– Wisconsin all milk price drops 

– State Cheese Production Climbs for Second Straight Month 

– State Farmers Intend to Plant Record Soybean Acreage in ’21 

– Dane County Fair Coming Back 


– Jill Underly calls superintendent opponent Deborah Kerr transphobic over remark on girls sports


– State’s Largest Business Lobby Sues Environmental Regulators Over PFAS Sampling Of Wastewater


– Compeer Financial Announces Rural Schools Innovation Grants 


– New Advocate Aurora subsidiary buys senior home-health franchisor 


– Milwaukee Tool’s downtown plans include $30 million building rehab, plus a three-story addition 


– Wisconsin governor seeks legal fees from Trump, Republicans

– Wisconsin Republicans seek to prohibit so-called ‘vaccine passports’


– Mass timber development in the works at downtown Milwaukee riverfront site 


– Attorney General Josh Kaul, Democratic Lawmakers Renew Push For Gun Law Changes


– Kohl’s continues to defend current board amid activist investor proxy fight 


– Brewers Fans Enjoy Thrilling Opening Day 


– Milwaukee hotel occupancy climbs to 44.6% 


– Inside Wisconsin: Power of undergraduate research being felt in Wisconsin economy 


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

– Dept. of Health Services: Awards $6.2 million in grants to promote health equity in COVID-19 vaccine program

– Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Midwestern states agriculture leaders encourage vaccination

– UW Health: Offers advice to overcome COVID-19 vaccine needle fear

– AG Kaul: Calls on U.S. secretary of education to further address student loan crisis