If he heard the words that Wisconsin lost a giant for rural health care, Representative Ed Brooks’ humble response would amount to a joke about his own height.
But he was a giant in his own way. Brooks was well-known and well-liked by the hospital leaders, providers, staff and volunteers across his district. He not only raised concerns to his colleagues about health care access for rural Wisconsin, but also rolled up his sleeves to develop policies that support the work of hospitals across the state.
Today, rural hospitals all over Wisconsin are benefitting from workforce training programs championed by Ed and a group of colleagues he led through the Rural Wisconsin Initiative. WHA worked side-by-side with Ed to craft this legislation, move it forward in the Legislature and finally see those policies signed into law in the last biennial budget bill.
This was all made a reality through Ed’s vision and commitment to rural health care. He understood that supporting hospitals was much more than making sure people had access to hospital care. He realized that hospitals are the cornerstone of rural economies and allow people to enjoy everything rural Wisconsin has to offer, without sacrificing access to high-quality health care.
While our work will go on, Rep. Ed Brooks’ commitment to Wisconsin hospitals will never be forgotten.