Friday morning, US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) met with a packed house at the Brokaw Village Hall, consisting of both current village residents as well as many former employees of the Wausau Paper-Brokaw Paper Mill, which closed in the summer of 2012.
The purpose of Baldwin’s visit was to announce and discuss the “Brokaw Act,” a bill designed to address financial abuses, increase transparency and strengthen oversight of activist hedge funds, which were responsible for the progressive overtaking of the mill’s governance board and ultimate closure of the facility.
Prior to its closure, the Brokaw Mill was the world’s largest producer of colored specialty paper.
“I wish I was here to tell you I have a plan to go back and undo what has been done to your village and your paper mill,” Baldwin stated. “I can’t do that. However, I am here today to tell you I do have a plan to keep these sorts of activities from happening anywhere else. I have a plan to try and prevent other areas from suffering like Brokaw has.”
Although she stated she would rather not attempt to make any predictions on an exact time frame, Baldwin stated she would like to see the Brokaw Act pass sometime within the 2017 legislative session.
According to statistics from the Department of Workforce Development, approximately 90 of the 450 mill employees were Merrill residents.