Democrats have selected their first Assembly Speaker in 14 years.
In a secret ballot vote on Wednesday, Democrats elected state Representative Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) to serve as Assembly Speaker. Sheridan says he was “humbled and grateful” that his fellow Democrats have faith in him to lead the caucus.
Sheridan defeated state Representative Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) for the Speaker's post.
Already, Sheridan says they have a lot of work to do. The Janesville Democrat says the budget will be their top priority, as the state gets ready to tackle a budget deficit next spring that could grow to $5 billion.
Sheridan is a former union leader with the UAW in Janesville. He says the state needs to do more to protect jobs, such as those being lost in Janesville because of the GM plant closure.
He also believes the state needs to do more to protect its major economic engines, such as Milwaukee.
Even though the budget will loom over most of the Legislature's early work, Nelson says there will be other issues to address. At the top of his list is reforming the campaign finance system and changing the role special interest groups in elections.
Also on Wednesday, Democrats elected state Representative Tom Nelson (D-Kaukauna) as Majority Leader.