The ripples from the Wisconsin recall effort continue to make waves in our area.
One state representative is getting ready to exit the political stage. Another has moved on to the state senate. And two new faces are on their way to the state assembly—a result of the recall races of 2012.
It started in January. State Rep. Donna Seidel (D-Wausau) announced she was entering the race against then-Republican State Sen. Pam Galloway, who was facing a recall election. But in March, Galloway abruptly resigned. The recall still went forward, though, pitting Seidel against another Republican, Jerry Petrowski. He decided to leave his assembly seat in the 86th district to run for the state senate.
Seidel also said she wouldn't seek re-election to the assembly.
Petrowski ultimately won handily. That meant two assembly seats were wide open. Candidates quickly jumped in.
"It gave me an opportunity when I saw that that was going to happen," said John Spiros, a Republican and member of the Marshfield city council. He ran for the assembly in 2010 and lost. This time, he won, taking over the seat vacated by Petrowski.
In the 85th district, schoolteacher Mandy Wright narrowly won, keeping that seat in Democratic hands.
"This is a real honor," said Wright.
Two new representatives, starting a new chapter of their lives.
"I know that I have been entrusted with a really important duty here," said Wright. "I'll work very hard to represent people's interests and move our state forward."
"I'm going to work hard," said Spiros. "I'm going to try to do whatever I can for the district, and that I hope to listen and hear from those in the district."
As for Seidel, whose term will be over in just a few weeks, she's reflective.
"Quite an amazing journey," Seidel said as she was asked to describer her term in office. She says she's proud of what she's done. But she's not quite ready to get out of public life.
"I hope to stay engaged and involved at some level," said Seidel. "I'm having a number of conversations, you know, as we speak."
But for now, two new lawmakers gets ready to settle into the state assembly, bringing new ideas to Madison and new representation to our area—thanks, in part, to the Wisconsin recall.
Both Spiros and Wright will be sworn in as state representatives on January 7.