Wisconsin Paper Caucus meets, looks to grow industry

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- The first Wisconsin Paper Caucus was held in Wisconsin Rapids on Friday, where lawmakers and local business met to discuss ways to help the industry grow.

"Well, anywhere along the Wisconsin River you're going to find a paper mill. The history of our state is built on paper, and we need to make sure that we're not only protecting those good paying jobs. But make sure they're here for generations and decades to come," said Rep. Katrina Shankland, 71st Assembly District.

It’s an opportunity for lawmakers and those in the paper industry to discuss ideas on how to grow the industry, like attracting young professionals to the field.

"That's going to be the big thing, what can we do to take some of these ideas and implement them. To figure out what we can do to support the industry in the future,” added Aklstom-Munksjo Marketing Communications Coordinator Addie Teeters.

"To get that feedback from people who experience and work with the paper industry to get their recommendations on what a regulatory market looks like. Is it working or not? Are there any recommendations we can take back when we work with our colleagues in Madison?" explained Rep. Patrick Testin, 24th Assembly District.

Both representatives and business members say there's a bright future in the industry.

"The incline is coming now we're seeing industries and jobs, there are agencies and other sectors coming back. That's why paper is important to everybody, not just people who work in the mill," added Rep. Scott Krug, 72nd Assembly District.

"There is a three to four time multiplier effect for every single paper Wisconsin job, you're going to see many more jobs come. So, it's really important that we keep these jobs in Wisconsin," said Teeters.