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Candidates and local businesses critical of Trump response to pandemic

Brad Williams

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Seven months after COVID-19 started shutting down businesses around the U.S., many have closed permanently, while many others are struggling to recover from a sharp drop in customers. 

The Meringue Bakery on Main Street in La Crosse is one of those local businesses still hurting. 

Meringue owner Jen Barney told reporters at her bakery on Wednesday that Republican leaders haven’t helped stores like hers as much as they could have.

“Our wedding season was maybe at 10 percent of what it should have been,” said Barney. She says efforts to expand her bakery products to make up for lost business are not helping enough, and she states “we’re crushed.”

Aside from a 30-second session ignoring policing bills, the Republican-led Wisconsin state legislature hasn’t met in session since mid-April when it passed some COVID-19 relief.

Barney supports voting for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket, and spoke along with State Rep. Jill Billings and State Senate candidate Brad Pfaff. 

Also attending the sidewalk event was Neil Kamrowski of Trempealeau, an area representative for the Machinists Union.  

Kamrowski called a vote for Biden an opportunity to help working Americans and small business.

“Things aren’t going well,” Kamrowski said. “It’s affected small businesses like my wife’s photography business in Galesville. In my union alone, many plants have shut their doors even before COVID.”

Like many other downtown businesses, Meringue has set up sidewalk seating for customers to allow people to shop safely and abide by the government orders limiting the number of people inside buildings to 25% capacity.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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