The Wisconsin state Senate’s newest members say job creation is job one. Both are Democrats who won August recall elections. Jessica King is the new Senator in the 18th District, representing constituents in Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties. “Part of the challenge they face right now is unemployment or underemployment,” said King. “We really have to be sensitive to what kind of environment can we build for the district and what can of vision can we have, to say where do we want our local economy to go?” King said she’s gotten some feedback about why there’s been no real work done by lawmakers this month, even as the economy continues to sour.
Jennifer Shilling is the new Senator in the 32nd District in southwestern Wisconsin. “There are economic challenges in our communities,” said Shilling, who previously served in the state Assembly and has been a member of the budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance. Shilling said the legislature needs to “find solutions that will benefit the state . . . so that we are getting people back to work.”
King and Shilling say they’re willing to work across the aisle with Republicans to find solutions to the state’s stalled job growth. Shilling said bipartisanship needs to embrace civility. “I’m willing to roll up my sleeves. I feel like I’ve transferred schools in the middle of the school year, coming from the Assembly to Senate,” said Shilling, who called for “baby steps” in restoring civility to the chamber. “Sometimes we overlook some of the simple decencies that I think we need to engage in, to rebuild trust and to rebuild that respect amongst colleagues.”