Skip to content

THE CAPITOL REPORT: Get to know Wisconsin’s newest lawmakers

By WisPolitics.com

With lawmakers retiring, resigning or losing reelection, the Wisconsin State Assembly will see 16 new members while eight new members will serve in the state Senate in the coming two-year session that starts in January.

At least 15 of those elected this cycle have already held elected office. And 14 women are among the ranks of those newly elected to the Legislature or moving from the Assembly to the Senate.

Of the 16 new Assembly members, 10 are Democrats, including the two who defeated incumbent Republicans.

In the Senate, three new Democrats join the ranks, all of whom have held elected office before. Republicans will welcome five new senators to the chamber; three of them have previous elected experience, including Rep. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond, who defeated Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset.

The 33-member Senate hasn’t filled eight seats with new members in a single cycle since 2011, according to the Senate Chief Clerk’s Office. And in that year, five of the eight also had previous legislative experience, most notably former Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen, who rejoined the chamber that year after previously serving from 1975 to 1987.

Here is a brief overview of the incoming class of freshman lawmakers:

Assembly Democrats

• Assembly District 8: Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, 42, is a licensed real estate broker who has served on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors since 2018.

• Assembly District 11: Dora Drake, 27, works as a member service coordinator at the Center for Self Sufficiency, described as a family-strengthening nonprofit, providing re-entry services for people out of prison or impacted by the justice system.

• Assembly District 13: Sara Rodriguez, 45, is a nurse and public health care consultant. She also has worked as an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She defeated current state Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, by less than 2 percentage points.

• Assembly District 17: Supreme Moore Omokunde, 40, is the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee. He has sat on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors since 2015. In 2018 he ran for Assembly District 16 but lost in the Democratic primary to now state Rep. Kalan Haywood, of Milwaukee, by some 250 votes.

• Assembly District 23: Deb Andraca, 50, has worked as a volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and as an environmental lobbyist with the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest. Andraca unseated incumbent Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, by 3.25 points.

• Assembly District 44: Sue Conley, 60, is a retiree who has worked as a nonprofit community leader and volunteer for more than 30 years. She’s currently the Janesville City Council president and has held the office for two terms.

• Assembly District 48: Samba Baldeh, 49, is in his third term on the Madison City Council. In his second term, he served as council president. He’s also an IT project manager at American Family Insurance. Baldeh immigrated to the United States 20 years ago from The Gambia in western Africa.

• Assembly District 57: Lee Snodgrass, 51, is a Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes communications director and serves as second vice chair for the state Democratic Party. Snodgrass in 2018 ran unsuccessfully against Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton.

• Assembly District 76: Francesca Hong, 31, is a Madison chef and Morris Ramen restaurant owner. She also worked for over 10 years as a public school teacher.

• Assembly District 90: Kristina Shelton, 40, serves as program director for the YWCA Greater Green Bay. She’s a graduate of Emerge Wisconsin, which trains Democratic women to run for public office, and has served on the Green Bay Area Public School Board since 2018. In her primary for the Democratic nomination, she defeated incumbent Rep. Staush Gruszynski, who came under fire after reports surfaced that he sexually harassed a staffer.

Assembly Republicans

• Assembly District 29: Clint Moses, 44, is a Menomonie chiropractor. He currently serves on the Menomonie Area School Board.

• Assembly District 35: Calvin Callahan, 21, is serving his second term on the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors. He also holds a seat on his local town board and chairs the Republican Party of Lincoln County.

• Assembly District 41: Alex Dallman, 28, formerly chaired the Green Lake County GOP and in 2016 served as deputy campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah. He also served as Grothman’s outreach representative from 2017 until April.

• Assembly District 55: Rachael Cabral-Guevara, 43, is a family nurse practitioner and a member of the Wisconsin Nurses Association. She also was a nursing instructor at UW-Oshkosh from 2008 to 2015.

• Assembly District 69: Donna Rozar, 70, is a surgical RN with a career in nursing spanning more than 50 years. She also serves on the Wood County Board of Supervisors.

• Assembly District 75: David Armstrong, 58, is a businessman and serves as executive director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation. He also served two terms on the Rice Lake City Council.

Senate Democrats

• Senate District 16: Melissa Agard, 51, is a small business owner and Assembly representative in her fourth term. She also served two terms on the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

• Senate District 26: Kelda Roys, 41, is an activist and businesswoman who previously served in the Assembly from 2009 to 2013. She ran an unsuccessful primary campaign for Congress in 2012. And in 2018, she finished third in the Democratic primary for governor.

• Senate District 32: Brad Pfaff, 52, was Gov. Tony Evers’ former DATCP secretary-designee and a former staffer to U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. Pfaff also served on the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors. In 2019, the Senate voted along party lines to reject Pfaff’s leadership of DATCP.

Senate Republicans

• Senate District 10: Rob Stafsholt, 44, is a farmer and Assembly representative in his second term. He unseated incumbent state Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, by nearly 20 percentage points.

• Senate District 12: Mary Felzkowski, 57, is a Wisconsin businesswoman who has held AD 35 since winning the seat in 2012. Incoming Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, of Oostburg, named Felzkowski to sit on the Joint Finance Committee.

• Senate District 14: Joan Ballweg, 68, is a farm equipment business co-owner and former first-grade teacher. She has represented AD 41 since 2005. LeMahieu also appointed Ballweg as a Senate JFC member.

• Senate District 28: Julian Bradley, 39, is an operations manager who twice ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2010 and 2016 in the La Crosse area. In 2014 he lost a primary bid for secretary of state. He’s also the former La Crosse County GOP chair.

• Senate District 30: Eric Wimberger, 41, is an attorney who in 2016 ran unsuccessfully against outgoing Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay. This year he defeated Hansen’s nephew, Jonathan, in a bid for the seat.

For more, visit WisPolitics.com

Leave a Comment