ICYMI: Editorial: WEDC Blew it on Oscar Meyer

Mar 08, 2016

ICYMI: Editorial: WEDC Blew it on Oscar Meyer

MADISON – Yesterday, the Capital Times wrote a scathing article about “how poorly state government is being run by this group of Republican ideologues whose priorities never seem to include the public’s best interests,” highlighting the most recent disaster of Oscar Meyer leaving the state and taking 1,000 Wisconsin jobs with them. This is just another example in a long line of failures by Scott Walker who has prioritized his own failed presidential aspirations and corporate profits over Wisconsinites every step of the way. Worst of all, this may have have been avoided had Scott Walker and WEDC made the time and effort to communicate with Oscar Meyer’s parent company, Kraft Heinz, and found a solution to keep the company in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker’s failure is apparent from a new jobs report that shows Wisconsin is lagging behind the rest of the country in job creation for the 17th consecutive quarter. In addition, Wisconsin is 40th when it comes to private sector job growth over the past four years.

Read excerpts of the editorial below: 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the state agency that Scott Walker created to replace the old Department of Commerce to fulfill the governor’s (failed) promise of creating 250,000 jobs during his first term in office, continues to be an embarrassment.

The latest came last week when the Wisconsin State Journal reported that WEDC officials and an executive of the state’s big business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, discussed as early as last June the possibility that the merged conglomerate Kraft Heinz might move jobs out of Wisconsin, but decided not to contact corporate officials to learn what it might take to keep the jobs here.

About five months later, Kraft Heinz announced that it was closing the historic Madison headquarters of Oscar Mayer, costing the city about 1,000 jobs.

According to emails the State Journal examined between WMC Senior Vice President Jim Morgan and WEDC officials, there were indications that other states were trying to lure a Kraft Heinz cheese-processing facility in Beaver Dam away from the state. But the WMC, which has worked hand-in-glove with Walker’s WEDC since it was created early in Walker’s first term, suggested it wasn’t necessary to contact the conglomerate.

So WEDC didn’t. WMC President Kurt Bauer now insists that the contact had nothing to do with Oscar Mayer and he chastised the State Journal for not recognizing the difference between Beaver Dam and Madison.


The WEDC has been involved in misstep after misstep since Walker promised his creation of the agency would lure countless jobs to the state.

Perhaps communications would not have caused Kraft Heinz to change its mind about Oscar Mayer’s Madison headquarters, but it surely was worth a try, especially by the state agency whose sole job is to build and keep jobs. Other states were quick to get the conglomerate’s ear by offering incentives and other options to move jobs their way. Wisconsin should have been in the mix.

What we have here is another example of how poorly state government is being run by this group of Republican ideologues whose priorities never seem to include the public’s best interests.   

Read the full article here.