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Wisconsin’s rural communities face a unique set of challenges: that’s why Governor Walker announced a wide range of forward-thinking reforms to meet their needs.

Additionally, the state increased DHS funding to improve access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse. Governor Walker reaffirmed support for Israel with Executive Order #261. And the Executive Residence was lit purple in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Finally, Wisconsinites are invited to submit homemade Christmas ornaments for the 2017 Wisconsin Capitol Christmas Tree.

1. Governor Walker Unveils His Rural Agenda & Announces New DNR Forestry Division HQ

Governor Walker unveiled his new Rural Agenda at the Governor’s Northern Economic & Community Development Summit in Trego on Thursday. The agenda focuses on comprehensively addressing the concerns of rural communities, such as increasing investments in education, expanding broadband access, improving rural healthcare, and making state resources more easily available.

Earlier that week, he announced the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources state forestry headquarters will be relocating to the DNR Rhinelander Service Center by the first of next year.

“This move will put the Division of Forestry and its leadership in a better position to work with the primary forest industries in the state. We will also be able to work more closely with our forestry industry partners in growing the state’s $24.7 billion forest industry that already generates nearly 65,000 jobs.” – Governor Scott Walker

2. $17 Million Investment to Improve Access to Treatment for Mental Health, Substance Abuse

Department of Health Services Secretary Linda Seemeyer announced an investment of $17 million, including $7 million in state funding, to raise rates for professionals providing outpatient mental health and substance use disorder services.

The increase came on the heels of Governor Walker’s direction to improve access to treatment for those battling mental health and substance use disorders by increasing the investment in behavioral health services.

3. Governor Walker Reaffirms Support for Israel

Governor Walker issued Executive Order #261 last week prohibiting state agencies from contracting with any business entity that discriminates against Israel. The executive order was issued as Governor Walker leads a 15-member trade delegation to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The trade mission runs through November 2.

Wisconsin and the State of Israel enjoy a robust trading relationship, with Wisconsin exporting over $80 million annually to Israel and importing over $200 million annually from Israel.

4. Wisconsin Students Are Invited to Decorate the 2017 #WICapitolTree

Teachers, parents, and children across the state are invited to help decorate the 2017 State Capitol Christmas Tree. This year, the Capitol Christmas Tree theme will be the Capitol’s 100th Birthday.

Ornaments symbolizing the Capitol building and its 100th birthday will be displayed on the 2017 State Capitol Christmas Tree. Experiences making the ornaments can be shared with pictures and stories through Facebook and Twitter using #WICapitolTree.

Submission information is available at

5. Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Executive Residence was lit purple on Friday to show support to victims and help increase awareness of domestic violence.