Target 2 On Assignment: How Will State Republicans Govern? - WBAY

Target 2 On Assignment: How Will State Republicans Govern?


When the state legislature convenes in January, it will be under Republican control.

Elections two weeks ago solidified that, giving Republicans even wider margins.

In the Assembly, Republicans will have 60 seats and Democrats 39.

In the Senate, Republicans will end up having 18 seats and Democrats 15. (A general special election is being held in Sen. Rich Zipper's district on December 4, but no Democrat is running in the heavily-Republican district. Zipper stepped down in August to become Governor Walker's deputy chief of staff).

"I enjoy debate," newly-elected Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said. "I enjoy a good discussion."

The Republican from Southeast Wisconsin knows some perceptions from last session.

"Will protesters come and try to disrupt things? I guess it's possible," Vos said in the Assembly chamber.

While the protests and legislation are still fresh, the momentum from both parties, perhaps because of renewed Republican control, moves forward.

"Listen, there are good people on both sides of the aisle," Rep. Andy Jorgensen said, the newly-elected chair of the Assembly Democratic caucus. "I think we always want to work together first and foremost. I'm hoping we can leave the past in the past."

State Senator Mike Ellis, from Neenah, was Senate president last session. He will be again.

"The average person in the state of Wisconsin is fed right up to their neck with negative, politics, blame game syndrome," Ellis said. "They want solutions."

Leadership in both chambers vow to pass mining legislation, a top priority for them.

Senate Republicans didn't have enough votes last session.

They now have more of a cushion.

Democratic leaders say they want to see legislation, too.

"I think we're actually going to end up with a decent bill that Democrats can vote for," newly-elected Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson said. "Now if Republicans are going to bend over backwards to try and sell out the state and prevent accountability, that's where we are going to have a problem.

"Look, Republicans have the votes to do whatever it is they want. If they just want to view us as furniture and do what they want, we're going to continue to speak up," Larson said.

Single party control is nothing new inside the state capitol.

"I'm excited to get to work and hopefully get people back to work," Jorgensen said.

Be it Republicans or Democrats, they've been there before.

"If we treat each other with respect, and invite them in and they invite us in," Ellis said, "that's a legacy we can transfer to the next legislature."

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