On Monday, Wisconsin welcomes the 46th governor of our state into office. The inauguration ceremony for Governor-elect Tony Evers and the other statewide-elected officials begins at 11 a.m. in our beautiful Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda in Madison.
I plan to be in the audience of the swearing-in ceremony and personally congratulate the newly elected officials. I will also attend the Inaugural Gala that evening and encourage my Republican colleagues to do the same.
In Wisconsin, Inauguration Day is bigger than any political party or politician. It’s a day to remember our past, celebrate our representative democracy and look toward the future.
Wisconsin is currently experiencing one of its greatest economies in decades. We have historically low unemployment rates, the lowest tax burden in nearly 50 years and top-ranked manufacturing job growth. Our state is attracting more businesses, workers and tourists. Undoubtedly, the state of our state is great and we must work together to keep it moving forward.
Governor-elect Evers and the Republican-led legislature surely will have policy differences, but we can agree that K-12 education is a main priority, our roads and bridges need more attention and health care is a top concern. We all want to improve the lives of every Wisconsin family. However, in addressing these issues and others facing our state, we shouldn’t allow politics to get in the way of progress.
In the state Assembly, we have a history of working in a bipartisan fashion. Last session, more than 90 percent of the new laws had bipartisan support. The juvenile justice reform bill and nearly all of the H.O.P.E. Agenda bills to fight the opioid epidemic received unanimous votes. Our bipartisan speaker task forces have tackled issues pertaining to education, workforce development, mental health, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and foster care. Soon there will be a new task force on water quality.
We can and will do more through a collaborative and open process that uses essential public input.
While often overshadowed but just as important, two other ceremonies take place on Inauguration Day. The newly elected representatives of the state Assembly and senators of the state Senate will have their own separate inaugural ceremonies with their families and friends inside their respective chambers.
With a military band and patriotic songs, we will usher in the 104th Wisconsin State Legislature. The 132 legislators in both chambers will pledge to carry out the duties of their office and to be a voice of their constituents back home. In the Assembly, representatives will each sign their names in a book that includes signatures from every representative in Wisconsin history.
Just like the optimism that we have for a better season for the Green Bay Packers next year, we should have the same positive outlook for the future of Wisconsin over the next four years. I want Governor-elect Evers to succeed. I want him to be a responsive governor for all of Wisconsin. We want Wisconsin to continue to be a great state no matter who is in the governor’s mansion.
To borrow a quote from the longest serving governor in our state, Tommy Thompson, “Once the election is over, let’s forget about the Rs and Ds. Let’s move forward as Wisconsinites and build Wisconsin.”