Christopher Rebholz, president and chief executive officer of Christopher Morgan Fulfillment Services in New Berlin, appears in Gov. Scott Walker's latest campaign commercial as a representative small business owner eager to grow in Walker's Wisconsin.
Identified only as "Chris, business owner," Rebholz says in the commercial that Walker is a friend of small businesses and wants "all the people of the state to be successful."
Rebholz adds, "It's comforting. And it's been rare. So, it's a refreshing change. We've got offices and divisions of our own company in other states – New York and California. And if we can see that if Wisconsin continues on a pro-business strategy, we're going to grow our staff here."
However, one of the organizations spearheading the recall of Walker is criticizing the commercial because Rebholz was cited as a BizTimes Bravo! Entrepreneur Award winner in 2008 – when Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle was in office.
The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards are given to bold and innovative company leaders. Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal One Wisconsin Now group, noted that Rebholz is a vice chairman of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's Council of Small Business Executives. Ross said the MMAC donated $400,000 in 2010 to the Republican Governors Association to help elect Walker.
"Given this business owner boasted his business revenues grew by 1,300 percent under the pro-growth policies of Gov. Jim Doyle, it seems curious he would support Scott Walker's radical policies which have left us far behind all our neighboring states in job growth," Ross said.
"It must just be the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce continuing to be a partisan shill for anti-middle class Republicans like Walker."
Christopher Morgan Fulfillment Services, which produces television infomercials, grew from $400,000 in annual revenues in 2002, when Doyle first took office, to $5.6 million in 2007.
One Wisconsin Now said Rebholz donated $4,500 to Walker's 2010 campaign after previously donating $1,000 to the campaign of Mark Green, who defeated Walker in 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary.
Rebholz is out of town today and could not be reached for comment about the commercial, but he told BizTimes last week that his company recently acquired a Pennsylvania firm and will continue to grow by moving a handful of jobs to Wisconsin.
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.