Brad Werntz recently visited the website of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's chamber of commerce. He found an item praising Tommy Thompson, the former Republican governor running for the U.S. Senate, and another one criticizing President Obama's health care reforms.
"That reads like the Republican caucus here in Wisconsin," says Werntz, owner of Boulders Climbing Gym. "It's all very partisan."
As a result, Werntz and other Wisconsin business owners are creating a new trade group: the Wisconsin Business Alliance.
The idea was born out of last year's Capitol protests. In late September, the Wisconsin Business Alliance plans to launch its website and begin accepting members.
Werntz says the group will advocate for businesses' real needs, emphasizing small businesses. He points to the proposed Gogebic Taconite in Ashland and Iron counties as an example of the Scott Walker administration being out of touch with small business. The mine, which was defeated, would have been disastrous to small businesses that depend on tourism and outdoor recreation, he says.
But the Alliance won't be just a liberal version of the WMC, Werntz promises.
"We'll look at a more modern way of doing things," he says.