Eighteen new members were officially inaugurated into the Wisconsin Legislature on Jan. 7, 2019. Over the next several weeks, HCG will highlight each new member of the legislature. This week, meet Reps. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire), Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay), Kalan Haywood (D-Milwaukee), and Jesse James (R-Altoona).
Rep. Emerson, representing District 91, was born and raised in Eau Claire. Emerson is an anti-human trafficking advocate, active on Wisconsin’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force; co-chair of the Task Force’s Implementation Committee; member of the Wisconsin Anti-Trafficking Consortium; and member of the Wisconsin Anti-Trafficking Advisory Council. Emerson was also the director of public policy and community relations for the anti-trafficking group Fierce Freedom.
Rep. Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay)
Rep. Gruszynski, representing District 90, grew up near Marinette and earned a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from UW-Oshkosh. Gruszynski has worked for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and is a Green Bay County Supervisor. Additionally, Gruszynski is the president of Green Bay Trout Unlimited and has been a Brown County delegate and chair for the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
Rep. Haywood, representing District 16, was born and raised in Milwaukee. At age 19, Haywood is the youngest legislator in the Wisconsin legislature and likely in the nation. Haywood was president of the Milwaukee Youth Council from 2015-17, where he worked with Milwaukee’s Community Development Block Grant Office on funding for youth employment and education programs. Haywood is currently chair of the Common Council’s Restorative Justice Advisory Board.
Rep. James, representing District 68, was born and raised in the Eau Claire area. James is a veteran and was most recently the Altoona police and fire chief. James had worked with the Altoona police department since 2001. Prior to working in law enforcement, James worked as a warehouse manager and earned a degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College.