Wisconsin Reception at the Rayburn House Office Building
By Jonathan Gramling
As the inauguration of Barack Obama drew near, the number of people in Washington, D.C.
swelled almost beyond capacity. One could wander the streets of Washington, peruse the
monuments and the buildings and never see a familiar face from Wisconsin.
One of the few times for Wisconsinites to get together was the Wisconsin Reception held January
19 at the Rayburn House Office Building. U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin and others hosted
several hundred Wisconsinites at the reception, which featured Wisconsin products for the food
and drinks offered.
One of those in attendance was Dr. Bettsey Barhorst, president of MATC, who had come to
Washington as an individual who wanted to witness history being made and to celebrate the
change that she felt would be coming. And in Barhorst’s estimation, some of that change needs to
occur on the higher education level.
“We’ve been short of support for quite a while,” Barhorst said. “We really need help with
infrastructure because particularly the technical colleges and higher education are the answer to
the problems for training this whole country and retraining people. In the times of a tight
economy, people are coming to us more. So that’s what we need is help in order to educate and
train the workforce.”
And in addition to those who are currently going back to school because of the lack of jobs,
Barhorst also sees higher education playing a pivotal role in Obama’s plan to “green” America’s
“We train the people who build those buildings,” Barhorst said about environmentally-friendly
construction. “We also train the people who certify LEED buildings and we also certify people who
certify others to work on these buildings. Besides that, we have a biotech department where we do
biofuels. We have other kind of construction – skilled job training that is environmentally good.”
While the Obama administration continues to push its stimulus plan through Congress, there are
others waiting to help make “the remaking of America” a reality.
|Clockwise from upper left: Jason Davidson (l-r),
Hasina Huntley-Cooper, Al Cooper and Frances
Huntley-Cooper; Amelia Swedeen (l) and Armani
Davis; Roger Putnam (l) and Briana Jones; Becky
Baumbach (l-r), Bettsey Barhorst, Frances
Huntley-Cooper, Roberta Gassman and Mary Lang
Sollinger; U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin meets
a constituent; Baldwin (l) with Dr. Karen Reibetanz;
UW Professor Linda Greene