How voters can help Wisconsin rise above partisan gridlock

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The dust has yet to fully settle on the 2018 midterm election, but a power struggle has already emerged between Wisconsin's Democratic governor-elect and the state's Republican Assembly leader.

On Wednesday night, Assembly Leader Robin Vos said he'd be open to shaping legislature that would limit the power of the governor during the lame duck session that happens between the transition of power from Republican Scott Walker to Democrat Tony Evers.

Evers fired back on Thursday.

"There is a lot of common ground we can find. But I will not tolerate desperate antics to cling to power and violate the checks and balances of Wisconsin's government," Evers said in a statement.

The back-and-forth continued with Vos responding to that statement.

"Governor-elect Evers made a generous offer to work together so he should not have a problem with the legislation that may be considered. The reforms are intended to keep both sides at the table to reach a consensus," Vos insisted.

With a Democrat in control of the executive office and Republicans in control of the legislature, is there any way beyond impasse?

St. Norbert Political Science Professor Wendy Scattergood is not surprised to see sparring between Democrats and Republicans given the polarizing state of politics across the country. But that doesn't mean Wisconsin won't overcome it. It's been done before.

"The Clinton administration had divided government and was actually pretty successful at negotiating different bills and getting them through," Scattergood says. "But that's really the key, is both sides have to be willing to play ball. And if one side or the other is just going to be the party of 'no' then nothing is going to get done."

There are issues likely to tread party lines. However, they can find common ground on issues such as infrastructure, education and health care.

Scattergood believes voters are eager for compromise as opposed to partisan bickering.

It's up to voters to stay active and vocal as bills progress through committee.

"That kind of agenda building, and what we call agenda maintenance, it's got to stay in the legislator's face," Scattergood says.

The governor does have veto power. It would take a two-thirds majority in the legislature to override a veto. Republicans don't have that.