COMMENTARY: Lame Duck Session Accomplished Worthy Objectives

by Assemblyman Joel Kitchens

I am hopeful that with the passage of a week, we can begin to get past the rhetoric and emotion and look objectively at what happened in our Extraordinary Session.  There is no question that the appearance was horrible.  The legislation was depicted as a petty and vindictive attempt to strip power from the incoming governor and attorney general.  Like many of you, I was horrified to see Wisconsin portrayed in that light by the national media.  Lost in all of this, however, is a look at what the legislation will actually accomplish.

Rep. Joel Kitchens

I hope you will take a few minutes to try to view the legislation with an open mind.

I was quoted in the press as saying I hated the process and that I was very conflicted on how to vote, and that is true.  I worked very hard to remove or modify the portions of the legislation that I thought were overly partisan.  In the end, I thought the bills we passed actually accomplished worthy objectives and were very defensible.  I am perfectly comfortable with them being in place whether we have a Democratic or Republican administration.  On the other hand, I knew that politically this would be viewed as entirely partisan and mean-spirited.  The easiest thing to do would have been to vote “no” but I felt that I best served my district by fighting to make the legislation as good as possible.  It remains to be seen whether the benefits from these bills will outweigh the price we have paid in public opinion.  I am not at all sure of the answer to that.

You may not agree with my decision but I hope you will appreciate that there is a very good rationale in everything that was done.  My pledge to you is that I will work with the new administration as collaboratively as possible.  We now have a split government and without compromise, we will accomplish nothing.  I have worked very well with Governor-elect Evers in the past and I expect to continue to do so in future.  I know this is what the people of my district want.


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