MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Legislature is getting 25 new representatives and three new senators, as members of both houses who were elected in November are sworn-in Monday afternoon.
Voters chose enough Republicans to approve anything the GOP wants over the next two years. But minority Democrats say the people still expect the two parties to work together – and they hope Republicans will do a better job of it than they did last time.
Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca says he hopes, “past wounds will be healed to some degree.” He’s talking about the way the GOP rammed through Governor Scott Walker’s plan to virtually end public union bargaining – a move that spurred massive protests at the Capitol which continue on a smaller scale to this day.
Barca and Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson called on Republicans to work with them on bills to improve the economy and job training.
The Republican Walker has urged his majority colleagues to focus on the economy, and not on divisive social measures. Incoming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recently said Democrats gave the GOP a “gift” when they elected Larson – and Larson’s been biting at the Republicans ever since.
But in a statement, Walker told the party leaders to cut out the sniping. He wrote, “Your leadership position comes with the responsibility to leave any lingering disagreements in the past, and look for innovative ways to move Wisconsin forward.”
Republicans have a 59 to 39 majority in the Assembly, and an 18-15 edge in the Senate. Eleven of the 25 new Assembly members are Republicans, as are 2 of the 3 new senators.