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VIDEO REPORT: VP Nomination Shines Spotlight on Janesville

By: Rachelle Baillon Email
By: Rachelle Baillon Email

UPDATED Monday, August 13, 2012--5:45p.m.
JANESVILLE--When you think of Janesville, the fact that the area has seen some tough times recently likely springs to mind. But the announcement over the weekend that Mitt Romney has picked Janesville-native Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate is bringing a lot of attention to the area--and some are hoping that could help promote it.

"There's rarely been a buzz quite as big as has been the case here in the last three days," said John Beckord, the president of Forward Janesville, the city's chamber of commerce and private economic development agency. That buzz means their phones are ringing with requests from media outlets ranging from the L.A. Times to the Wall Street Journal. "We've had a lot of interest in learning more about the community of course that Paul resides in and more about the man himself," said Beckord.

"The last time we had this much media attention it was negative, it was about General Motors," said Eric Levitt, the city manager. "And now it's a very positive. It's about someone that's actually been honored to be named the vice presidential candidate and I think it brings a lot of positive attention to Janesville."

Levitt said about a thousand jobs were created in the area over the last 12-18 months. That's after losing about 6,000 jobs in Rock County over a two-year period. He said the attention from the Ryan pick could help with the area's comeback. "I think we have started to hit a turning point, at least that's our hope, but I think this gives momentum to that turning point and I think that's the key," said Levitt.

Beckord said Ryan's selection could provide a big boost in terms of attention and publicity for the area--and might help them explain what Janesville and Rock County have to offer to those looking for business investment and job development opportunities.
"There's every expectation that we're going to be able to get the attention of decision makers in a way that we probably could not have had this not happened," he said.

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Monday, August 13, 2012--4:10p.m.

JANESVILLE--Following the big announcement on Saturday of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate, plenty of attention is now being lavished on the congressman's hometown.

Today, We stopped by Forward Janesville, the city's chamber of commerce and private economic development agency.

They're fielding calls from news organizations across the country.

"National press is descending on Janesville, I'm getting calls from the L.A. Times, the Boston Globe, CNN, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal," said John Beckord, the president. "So in addition to the local media of course, we've got a lot of interest in learning more about the community of course that Paul resides in."

Beckord said Ryan's selection could provide a big boost in terms of attention and publicity for the area--and might help them explain what Janesville and Rock County have to offer.


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