Legislature eyes a session of opportunity
The state Legislature is kicking off its legislative session for 2008, and we have a tremendous opportunity to accomplish a lot for Wisconsin in a short amount of time. The key to our success will be our ability to work together.
Usually election-year sessions are nasty and partisan affairs, but this year can be different. In Madison, Democrats and Republicans are separated by a razor-thin margin. And when things are this close, the result is usually an increase in bipartisanship.
Last year we had some important bipartisan victories. In the early weeks of the session, Democrats and Republicans joined together to create the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board. We passed a budget that was long overdue but also more bipartisan than any other budget in a decade. We also finished the year by joining together to support a new state law protecting the rights of victims of rape and incest.
As the Democratic leader in the Assembly, it is my hope that this bipartisan spirit continues in the new year and we are able to pick up where we left off.
Nationally, voters are coming out in record numbers because they’re tired of the way their government is being run. They’re tired of partisan bickering and stalemate. They want change. Rather than waiting until November, we can start now and work together on issues that middle-class families across the state want us to address.
In 2008, Democrats will focus on issues such as providing health care for children with autism; making health care and prescription drugs cheaper for small businesses and their employees; cutting property taxes for Wisconsin homeowners; and cleaning up campaigns in this state that have become more negative and more expensive with each passing cycle.
These are not partisan goals or extreme policies. These are mainstream issues that the people of Wisconsin expect us to address. It’s time to change how we do business at the Capitol. It’s time to start focusing on the things we agree on rather than the things that keep us apart.
Assembly Democrats are ready to turn the page to a new chapter of bipartisan cooperation in 2008. We sincerely hope the other side will join us.
Rep. Jim Kreuser is the Assembly Democratic minority Leader. He represents the 64th Assembly District, which covers the city of Kenosha. He can be reached at 1-888-534-0064 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.