Cooperatives Honor Representatives
Ott and Brooks with Legislative Awards
MADISON, Wis. —(October 25, 2012) —Cooperative Network, the statewide trade association for cooperatives in Wisconsin and Minnesota, presented its "Friend of Cooperatives" awards to State Representatives Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) and Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg).
"Representatives Ott and Brooks have been consistent champions for cooperatives and rural interests during their entire legislative careers," said Bill Oemichen, president and CEO of Cooperative Network. "This past session both worked tirelessly on Assembly Bill 228, which restored a vital exemption from state registration for cooperatives when they issue securities such as preferred stock. This provides an important advantage for individuals when forming new cooperatives and for existing cooperatives when raising capital for growth and modernization, resulting in economic development and benefits to the entire state of Wisconsin."
Representative Ott has been at the forefront of virtually all state legislation that has helped strengthen Wisconsin's agricultural economy during the past 25 years. Especially notable was his leadership during the 2003-2004 legislative session to create the dairy investment tax credit (DITC), which has been a major factor in the revitalization of the Wisconsin dairy industry. Prior to its enactment, the aging of Wisconsin's dairy farm infrastructure was accompanied by reduced herd numbers and milk supply, leading to milk shortages for our processing plants. Since the enactment of the DITC, Wisconsin's dairy industry has rebounded with modernized barns and equipment, increased herd numbers and milk supply, and investment in processing plants.
"Without Representative's Ott's passion for Wisconsin's diverse agriculture, it is hard to imagine that our dairy and other agricultural industries would have made so many strides forward in the past ten years,” said Oemichen. “Al is uniquely able to work effectively across party lines to ensure broad bipartisan support for good agricultural policy initiatives and because of him, this is the rule, rather than the exception, in the Wisconsin legislature. Wisconsin in known nationally as a welcoming state for production agriculture because of the enactment of numerous ag-friendly laws.”
“This past session, Representative Brooks was a major advocate for our members on several pieces of legislation. For example, he stood up for credit unions during a biennial budget discussion that focused on an unfriendly amendment authorizing the conversion of credit unions to stock banks with few protections for members,” said Oemichen.
Representative Brooks was also a co-author of SB 260, which amended the cooperative dairy plant modernization credit to make it more feasible for cooperative members to take advantage of this income tax credit, which is passed through from the cooperative to its members when the plant expands or modernizes its facilities.
Representative Ott, who was first elected in 1986, is running for re-election in the 3rd Assembly district. Representative Brooks is running for a third term in the State Assembly from the 50th Assembly District.