Senator Brad Pfaff and Representative Loren Oldenburg received the penny tour of VARC’s corporate office, meeting clients and discussing the future of disability legislation in Wisconsin.
BY SHELBY J. PHILLIPS
This past April, leadership at VARC, Inc. had the pleasure of hosting Senator Brad Pfaff and Representative Loren Oldenburg on separate tours of the corporate facility in Vernon County.
Niki Steele (Director of Client Services), Megan Tully (Development Manager), and Liz Filter (President | CEO) guided the legislators around the production floor and the Skills Enrichment wing of the building, discussing how the facility runs, sharing the challenges and innovative solutions associated with operating multiple production and service locations, and introducing them to their clients along the way.
These visits followed March’s virtual conversations between the lawmakers, VARC, and other local disability service providers. These discussions centered around Family Care Reform, highlighting two initiatives that would increase financial support for disability service providers and their clients in the state of Wisconsin. With Senator Pfaff and Representative Oldenburg offering input and feedback, Steele, Tully, and Filter discussed the beneficial possibilities that legislative support could generate—specifically with regard to a $15 million increase to the General Purpose Revenue (GPR) annually for the Direct Care Workforce Fund.
In sit-down meetings following the tours, VARC leadership articulated the need for a new reimbursement methodology for providers that is transparent, inclusive of providers, and reflects the actual cost of care.
“Our most recent meetings with Senator Pfaff and Representative Oldenburg are the start of new strategic incentives to evolve our advocacy work in the coming years, to ensure VARC, its employees, and clients it serves are at the forefront of legislative agenda.”Liz Filter, President | CEO of VARC, Inc.
Representative Oldenburg is a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing District 96 (serving Crawford, Vernon, and Monroe counties). He assumed office in 2019 and successfully won in the general election in November 2020.
Senator Pfaff is a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate, representing District 32 (serving all of La Crosse and Crawford counties, as well as portions of Vernon and Monroe counties). Senator Pfaff assumed office in January 2021.
Not wasting any time following the tours, Tully traveled to Menomonie on April 22 to attend the Joint Committee on Finance’s public hearing. She spoke on behalf of VARC and their clients, testifying before the committee of lawmakers on budget priorities that the state of Wisconsin should consider in the coming year. These recommendations advocated for continued financial support of individuals with disabilities and the service organizations designed to help them.
VARC intends to continue to expand its advocacy work on behalf of individuals with disabilities in Wisconsin.