New Faces in the Wisconsin Legislature

 Joe Murray  |    January 28, 2021

When the Wisconsin Legislature begins its new legislative session this month, there will be 24 new faces in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate.
There will be eight new senators beginning their tenure this month; seven will be filling vacant seats, while one defeated a sitting incumbent. In the assembly, 16 newcomers will be among the members who were reelected.
In the November elections, Senate Republicans expanded their majority party status to 21-12 by picking up two Democrat seats; Assembly Republicans lost two seats but maintained their majority 61-38. From a numerical standpoint, very little changed. Republicans had a combined 82 seats going into the November elections, and they continue to have 82 seats.
The real change will be the background of the newly elected members and the legislative priorities they bring with them. For both the Assembly and Senate, here is an overview of the 24 new members who took the oath of office earlier this month.

State Senate

  • Five of the eight new senators currently serve or formerly served in the state Assembly: Stafsholt, Felzkowski, Ballweg, Agard and Roys. Running for the state Senate as a sitting state representative is, and always has been, a big advantage.¬†
  • Five of the eight new senators have some kind of small business background: Stafsholt, Felzkowski, Ballweg, Agard and Roys. This is a plus for the business community.¬†
  • Three of the eight new senators ran for the state legislature at least once before being elected in 2020: Bradley, Wimberger and Pfaff. Second time was the charm!
  • 8 new members (24%)
  • 5 former state representatives
  • 3 are new to the legislature
  • 6 were elected with RPAC/WRA support, 2 without
  • 4 female, 4 male

State Assembly

  • Four of the 16 new members of the state Assembly have a medical background: Rodriguez, Moses, Cabral-Guevara and Rozar. In the age of COVID-19, this is a plus.¬†
  • Seven of the incoming 16 freshman have a business background: Ortiz-Velez, Rodriguez, Moses, Callahan, Cabral-Guevara, Armstrong and Hong ‚ÄĒ a benefit to the business community.¬†
  • Six of the 16 ran for office before or currently hold another elected position: Ortiz-Velez, Moore Omokunde, Baldeh, Snodgrass, Rozar and Shelton. Experience matters, including how to run for office and win.¬†
  • 16 new members (17%)
  • 10 female, 6 male
  • 10 were elected with RPAC/WRA support, 2 without

Joe Murray is Director of Political and Governmental Affairs for the WRA.

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