Yesterday, State Representative Jill Billings held a “What’s at Stake” press conference with State Senate candidate Brad Pfaff, Jen Barney, owner of Meringue Bakery and Cafe, and Neil Kamrowski, Directing Business Representative of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District Lodge 66. The participants discussed the stakes of the election for Wisconsin small businesses, highlighted how the Biden-Harris “Build Back Better” plan will grow the economy and strengthen unions, and encouraged Wisconsinites to make a plan to vote early.
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Democrats from our area are joining with some members of the business community to discuss the upcoming election.
Representative Jill Billings and Senate candidate Brad Pfaff were at Meringue Bakery and Cafe Wednesday morning.
Topics included Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s plans for the economy.
Pfaff says small businesses aren’t getting the help they need from the state and federal levels.
“We need to make sure that we do more in order to keep our small businesses going. Unfortunately we’re not getting that leadership from our Wisconsin state legislature or from our leaders in Washington D.C.,” said Wisconsin 32nd Senate District Brad Pfaff.
Seven months after COVID-19 started shutting down businesses around the U.S., many have closed permanently, while many others are struggling to recover from a sharp drop in customers.
The Meringue Bakery on Main Street in La Crosse is one of those local businesses still hurting.
Meringue owner Jen Barney told reporters at her bakery on Wednesday that Republican leaders haven’t helped stores like hers as much as they could have.
“Our wedding season was maybe at 10 percent of what it should have been,” said Barney. She says efforts to expand her bakery products to make up for lost business are not helping enough, and she states “we’re crushed.”
Barney supports voting for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket, and spoke along with State Rep. Jill Billings and State Senate candidate Brad Pfaff.
Also attending the sidewalk event was Neil Kamrowski of Trempealeau, an area representative for the Machinists Union.
Kamrowski called a vote for Biden an opportunity to help working Americans and small business.
“Things aren’t going well,” Kamrowski said. “It’s affected small businesses like my wife’s photography business in Galesville. In my union alone, many plants have shut their doors even before COVID.”
Like many other downtown businesses, Meringue has set up sidewalk seating for customers to allow people to shop safely and abide by the government orders limiting the number of people inside buildings to 25% capacity.