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Kind in Hudson Tuesday -- calls for speeding up reform bill

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) addressed a small business seminar Tuesday morning at the UW-River Falls Hudson Center. Above, Steve DeWald of UW-RF introduces Kind, center, and Kim Kindschi, UW-Extension, left.

There is improvement in the economy, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), told a small business roundtable group Tuesday morning at the UW-River Falls Hudson Center.

But every time the economy gets a leg up, something unexpected gets in the way, he said.

"The spike in energy prices is holding things back," Kind said. The surge in energy prices reduces consumer spending which has a big effect on small business, the congressman added.

Kind said speeding up the Wall Street Reform Bill that would institute new rules to tamp down commodities speculation can help curtail the rising energy costs.

"It's not a supply issue, they are overflowing in Oklahoma," he said. "It's the short-term speculation in commodities."

Kind said it is important to be smart consumers of energy and not so dependent on overseas sources. "It's a wakeup call to develop an energy plan," he said.

Gas prices in Hudson Tuesday morning were hovering at $3.959 a gallon.

The congressman touched on other areas of the economy noting the largest single issue is the rise in health care costs. "We must continue to move forward in health care reform," he said.

Kind then turned the forum over to a panel of professionals, who provided information on resources to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The group included Steve DeWald of the Small Business Development Center at UW-River Falls who introduced Kind; Kim Kindschi, UW-Extension; John Mirenda, Small Business Administration development specialist from Madison; Alan Gregson, IRS regional stakeholder liaison; and Sunny Kessel, U.S. Export Assistance Office, Department of Commerce.

About 50 interested citizens braved windy, wet weather to attend the seminar.