MADISON, Wis. — On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters spoke out loud and clear in favor of balance in state government, sweeping Democrats to wins in every statewide office on the ballot with record midterm election turnout, buoyed by record early voting. On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hit a foul note suggesting just the opposite with a call for a right-wing power grab in a lame duck session, before Democrats take the offices to which they were elected.
“The people of Wisconsin who went to the polls in record numbers in this midterm election sent a clear message,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Assembly and Senate Leaders Vos and Fitzgerald even considering trying to rush through a Republican partisan power grab in a lame duck session is irresponsible and an insult to Wisconsin voters.”
Ross noted that Vos has previously displayed lapses in judgment and ethics like subsidizing his lifestyle with first class travel on junkets paid for by payday lenders and other special interests. Economic interest statements he is required to file by state law revealed Vos took $13,000 in free travel in 2017 and $57,000 since 2014. A frequent traveling companion, Cliff Rosenberger, was forced to resign his position as Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives amid an FBI inquiry into his activities including a European junket with Vos.
Republicans have also been paralyzed by their own infighting, raising questions about their ability to undertake such a controversial partisan power grab in a politically damaging lame duck session of the legislature.
As the 2017-18 legislative session wound down, the GOP was unable to agree on several high profile bills, perhaps fallout from a bruising internal budget battle. During their 2017 budget deliberations, as Gov. Walker was seeking to protect his own electoral prospects, the Assembly Republicans walked away from the budget writing Joint Finance Committee for much of the summer and far right wing Senators hijacked a budget agreement at the 11th hour with a series of demands, leading Assembly Speaker Vos to brand them “terrorists.”
“Republicans in the legislature need to respect the will of the people of Wisconsin. Voters said loud and clear they wanted an end to unchecked power. There should be no legislative action until the new administration takes office,” concluded Ross.