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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Democrats elect new Assembly leadership

After gaining the majority for the first time in 14 years in Nov. 4's general election, state Assembly Democrats voted for new leadership Wednesday.  

 

Assembly Democrats elected Rep. Mike Sheridan of Janesville the new speaker, and Rep. Tom Nelson of Kaukauna the new majority leader. 

 

We have all worked very hard over the last several years to take back the majority and we have reason to be proud of our success,"" Sheridan said in a statement. ""I believe that we need to hit the ground running to accomplish our mission of getting Wisconsin back on track.""  

 

Both Sheridan and Nelson were re-elected to their third Assembly terms this year, having served since 2004.  

 

Sheridan described his leadership style as one of teamwork, problem-solving and cooperation, adding he will ""lead with an open mind and an open door."" 

 

Sheridan will takeover the position currently held by Rep. Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, at the beginning of the next legislative session in January. 

 

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An essential responsibility of leaders in the state Legislature is to work with the UW System, balancing needs of the state's public institutions with resources available. 

 

""Our relationship with Speaker Mike Huebsch was terrific, so I would hope for a continuation of what's been a very, very productive dialogue,"" UW System spokesperson David Giroux said. 

 

Giroux said a positive relationship also exists between state Senate leaders, where Democrats also hold the majority. 

 

""Senator [Russ] Decker has been very welcoming to our leadership and has engaged in an equally productive dialogue."" 

 

Decker, D-Weston, was re-elected as the Senate majority leader Tuesday. Republicans also voted Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon Assembly minority leader Tuesday. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, will continue to serve as the Senate minority leader. 

 

Although passing legislation can be limited for the party in the minority, Jim Bender, spokesperson for Jeff Fitzgerald, said the Democrats hold a slim majority over the Republicans. 

 

""Most sessions, regardless of who's in control '¦ 85 percent of the bills pass with bipartisan support,"" Bender said. 

 

- Megan Orear contributed to this report 

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