It was business as usual at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Oct. 4 when Gov. Evers called a session to discuss adding an amendment to Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban. What makes this a typical day isn’t necessarily the topic — rather, it’s the fact that only one Republican and three Democratic senators were present. The special session lasted 15 seconds — long enough to gavel in, rip to the next day in the senate chamber’s “365 chunky animals” calendar and adjourn.
When it comes to work ethic, Wisconsin’s Republican state senators have a reputation. They treat the State Capitol building like it’s a private middle school. Then, they play the role of “12-year-old who can get away with skipping class and being a little shit to people because their parents donated a lot of money to build the school a new swimming pool” (See: the great COVID Christmas tree of 2020).
Given this, it’s no surprise Republican Senate President Chris Kapenga was the only Republican in attendance at the special session. If one were to follow the trend, it would imply Senator Kapenga also didn’t want to be there. This begs the question — was Tuesday’s picture good enough to be worth it?
The 33rd District representative refused to take a strong stance.
“You know, it would’ve been great to be out on the golf course along with Snots, RoJo, Dunk-ster and the rest of the guys in the senate, but I was also pleased to see a chunky cat eating a string of sausages,” said Senator Kapenga.
Given the annual nature of calendars, it’s safe to say the charade has been ongoing since at least Jan. 1. However, that doesn’t mean the practice hasn’t been happening for much longer.
Senator Jon Erpenbach, who has represented the 27th District since 1999, says the trend of showing up to the State Capitol, ripping away to the next photo in that year’s calendar and immediately leaving has been happening for longer than he’s been in office.
“It’s finally been switched up, at least. In ‘99, it was conventionally attractive women laying on vintage cars. After running the gamut of girls paired with different modes of transportation, the whole thing got stale, so … chunky animals,” shrugged Erpenbach.
A longtime State Capitol building janitor with nothing to lose told The Beet some state senators have their own private calendars in their offices.
“Robert Walter Kasten Jr. in 1973? Tropical bugs. Russ Feingold in 1996? Snowmen getting into mischief. I’ve got a buddy sweeping in the big leagues — the U.S. Capitol. You know what’s giving Ron Johnson quick thrills as we speak? Taxidermied rodents wearing different fun outfits. What a goddamn racket,” said the nearly-retired janitor as he took a drag of his cigarette just feet away from Governor Evers’ office because he “has an understanding” with him.
Wisconsin residents will be disappointed to have confirmation that their elected officials truly aren’t doing their jobs. Still, many will be glad to know they’re popping by the senate chamber to look at a fat squirrel and not to actually impose their beliefs on the people of Wisconsin.