While Scott Walker was able to remain in as Governor thanks to the overwhelming political contributions from out-of-state corporate pay-to-play interests, right-wing zealot billionaires, secret Koch Brothers’-funded superPACs under the radar and a low-information voting population that continues to schizophrenically vote against their own interests, the Democrats have been able to remove enough state Senators since the Recall elections began in 2011 to have a 17-16 advantage in the state Senate. Before that process began, the rubberstamping Republicans controlled the state Senate 19-14. Republican state Senators Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper were recalled in 2011 and now Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard was defeated by former Democratic State Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine). Of course, Wanggaard was a crybaby who refused to concede defeat for weeks after he was beat. Finally, after many of his colleagues told him to face the facts, he conceded.
MADISON — Democrats say they want to bring the Legislature back in a special session to take up four issues related to job creation, but the Republican head of the Assembly is dismissing the request as political theater.
Republicans transferred power in the state Senate today in a brief meeting that was largely ceremonial. Democrats took control after John Lehman won a recall election over Republican Senator Van Wanggaard.
Democratic Majority Leader Mark Miller says the people want immediate action and don’t want to wait until next year.
But Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald calls Miller’s request political theater and says it amazes him Democrats want to talk about job creation after they rejected a bill passed by the Assembly designed to help a new iron mine open in northern Wisconsin.
In the swearing-in ceremonies, there were some colorful events with Fitzwalkerstan Cult Ring-Leader state Senator Scott Fitzgerald having to relinquish power. Senator Fred Risser, the nation’s longest-serving state lawmaker having taken office in 1957, is now elected president of the Senate. Fitzgerald, while surviving his recall against Wisconsin legend Lori Compas, lost his leadership seat. It couldn’t have happened to a more filthy swine.
There were some disruptions from people in the gallery who yelled out “Liar!” when outgoing Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was talking. Two people were removed and one was issued a citation for disorderly conduct, according to Department of Administration spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster.
Fitzgerald, amid boos and catcalls from some in the gallery, defended the GOP’s record over the past 19 months in charge and vowed to be back in charge after the November election. Sixteen seats are up, but only six are held by Republicans.
Walker’s spokesman has said the governor won’t call lawmakers back unless leaders in both parties in both houses agree to an agenda.
Democrats on Tuesday also took control of Senate committees. Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee was appointed co-chair of the powerful budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. Lehman was named to serve on the panel, along with Sens. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Bob Jauch of Poplar, Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse and Chris Larson of Milwaukee.
The committee is now evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. It is expected to meet at least once more this year, mostly to consider emergency spending requests by state agencies.
Here is the list of state Senators up for re-election in 2012:
|Senator||District||Party||Current Age||First elected||Seat up|
† Elected in a recall election