Gov. Tony Evers picks Melissa Hughes as new WEDC secretary

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers has picked an attorney for an organic farming cooperative to serve as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation‘s new leader.

Evers said Thursday that he has appointed Melissa Hughes to replace Mark Hogan as WEDC secretary. Hogan was appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker but stayed on the job after GOP lawmakers blocked Evers from naming a successor until after Sept. 1.

Hughes has served as chief mission officer and general counsel for Organic Valley/CROPP since 2003. The Vernon County-based organization represents about 1,800 organic farmers in 36 states. The cooperative produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, creams and eggs.

Evers cited Hughes’ experience helping small businesses and family farms in his announcement. She will start Oct. 1.

Statements of reaction from state officials

Assembly Democratic Leader and WEDC Board Member Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh)

“Missy Hughes is a proven leader at one of Wisconsin’s most successful, homegrown businesses. I am confident that under her leadership, the WEDC will find innovative ways to create economic development opportunities in all 72 counties. As a member of the WEDC board, I look forward to working together with Ms. Hughes in an effort to increase transparency and accountability at the agency.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse)

“As someone with a connection to the Coulee Region, I have enjoyed working with Ms. Hughes through her work at Organic Valley. Ms. Hughes has extensive knowledge in business, leadership and management and her experience will be a valuable asset for the state of Wisconsin. I look forward to working with Ms. Hughes to expand economic opportunities, support Main Street community businesses, and encourage innovative entrepreneurship in Wisconsin.”

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