Half dozen Wisconsin Democrats opt for socially distanced swearing-in

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In a year when almost everything has been done online, a half dozen Wisconsin lawmakers are taking their new oaths of office online as well.

State representatives Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, and state Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, all were sworn in virtually this week.

“It’s clear that, even during times like this, Wisconsinites from across my district and across the state want to know that Wisconsin is a safe place for everyone to reach for their dreams,” Agard said in a statement.

“Our state will face a number of challenges in the upcoming session, including a public health crisis, redistricting, and economic recovery. This legislative session is an opportunity to work together to address the challenges facing our state and improve opportunities for our constituents,” Hintz said in a statement of his own.

The traditional, in-person inauguration ceremonies for the State Assembly and State Senate are scheduled for 2021.

This week was not only for new and returning lawmakers. State Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, marked his final day in office on Monday. He spent 64 years in the state legislature.

Risser is Wisconsin’s longest serving lawmaker. He was first elected to the State Assembly in 1956. He moved to the State Senate in 1962, and remained there ever since.

Risser has worked with 13 different governors, seven of them Democrats and six of them Republicans. He said he is proud that he never missed a legislative roll call.

“I’ve always enjoyed representing people,” Risser told the Wisconsin State Journal when he announced his retirement in March. “I always knew from the time that I was born that I would be involved in some type of political service. I was honored that the people of this district allowed me to serve that long.”

Risser is the last World War II veteran to serve in the Wisconsin legislature.





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