A new day dawns in Wisconsin politics Monday, when Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker and GOP majorities in the Assembly and Senate are sworn in.
Expect quick action on a variety of measures designed to improve the state’s struggling economy and to eliminate a $2.7 billion budget deficit left behind by Jim Doyle and his Democrat enablers, many of whom — former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan of Janesville chief among them — were kicked to the curb in a historic midterm-election shellacking.
Shortly after taking the oath of office, Walker will call the Legislature into a special session that should serve as a springboard for implementation of an economic agenda that refreshingly regards the private sector as the state’s engine for growth and taxpayers as something other than a government piggybank.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for a state that continues to hemorrhage private sector jobs in a business climate recently judged by Forbes magazine the eighth worst in the country.
We also trust that Republicans learned well from Democrats who lorded over the Legislature the previous two years how not to govern. The recently concluded lame-duck session, in fact, was an appropriately slimy ending to two years of Democrat scandal and fiscal mismanagement.
The enduring image of that session is the springing from work release of serial drunken driver Jeff Wood, the chronically besotted Assembly independent who was needed by Dems to approve new contracts for public-employee unions. Wood shambled into the Capitol and managed to vote as he was told, but the unseemly effort ultimately failed, leaving Walker with the leverage he needs to strike deals that do not hamstring his plan to balance the budget.
The Republican promised to be bold, and there’s no reason to doubt he means what he says. Here’s hoping the eventful weeks to come are merely prelude to the depth and breadth of change yet on the horizon.
Read more on the Outlook and Perspective pages of CSI's Walworth County Sunday e-edition on pages 8A and 9A. and add your comments below.