In our previous issue, Hamilton Consulting brought you the “Get to Know a Freshman” series, where we highlighted four incoming legislators. With one of the largest freshman classes ever in the Wisconsin Legislature, it may be harder to get to know the newly elected senators and representatives.
This week, Political Tidbits highlights four new legislators – State Senators-elect Janet Bewley and Steve Nass and State Representatives-elect Jonathan Brostoff and David Steffen. For the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Legislature, the State Senate has seven new senators (five Republican, two Democrat), and the State Assembly has 25 new representatives (18 Republican, seven Democrat).
State Senator-elect Janet Bewley (D)
Current State Representative Janet Bewley has represented the 74th Assembly District since 2010, a district covering much of the northwoods of Wisconsin, including parts of Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, and Sawyer counties. Bewley’s new district, the Senate’s 25th, became an open seat when Senator Bob Jauch (D) announced his retirement in October. Bewley beat her Republican opponent Dane Deutsch with a narrow two point margin.
The new senator’s previous work in the capitol included seats on the committees on Colleges and Universities, Housing and Real Estate, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Rural Affairs, and the Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations. Prior to her work in the Capitol, Bewley was a Community Relations Officer with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, and the Ashland City Council. Beth Myers (D) was elected in November to represent Bewley’s old assembly district.
State Senator-elect Steve Nass (R)
Another current state representative turned senator-elect is Steve Nass (R), currently representing the 33rd Assembly District, which covers parts of Walworth, Jefferson, and Waukesha counties. Nass’ new district, the Senate’s 11th, was previously held by Senator Neal Kedzie (R) who announced he would not seek re-election.
As a state representative, Nass was chair of the Committee on Colleges and Universities, and sat on the committees on Education, Government Operations and State Licensing, Housing and Real Estate, Labor, State Affairs and Government Operations, State and Local Finance, and the Speaker’s Taskforce on Rural Schools. Nass was first elected to the State Assembly in 1990, and previously served in the Middle East as a member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Nass was a former payroll benefits analyst and served on the Whitewater City Council.
State Representative-elect Jonathan Brostoff (D)
The newly elected representative for the 19th Assembly District is Jonathan Brostoff. Brostoff will be replacing State Representative Jon Richards (D), who ran for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. The 19th Assembly District covers much of most of east Milwaukee.
Brostoff, before being elected to the Assembly, was the district director for State Senator Chris Larson (D), and prior to that was legislative aide to Milwaukee County Supervisor Jason Haas. Brostoff has worked for the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County for several years, and has been a part of a number of Milwaukee area nonprofits, including homeless shelters, veteran-focused groups, and family support programs. Brostoff’s only opponent in the November election was independent candidate Joe Klein.
State Representative-elect David Steffen (R)
David Steffen is the just elected representative for the 4th Assembly District, covering parts of the Green Bay area including Ashwaubenon, De Pere, and Allouez. Previously, the 4th Assembly District was represented by Rep. Chad Weininger (R), who did not run for re-election after accepting a position as Brown County Director of Administration.
Steffen, who won a three-way primary and then beat his Democratic opponent by a wide margin, has been a Brown County Supervisor since 2012 and a trustee of the Village of Howard since 2007. Steffen has also been a part of the many Green Bay area business associations, including the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Ashwaubenon Business Association, and Howard Small Business Partnership. An interview between David Steffen and WisconsinEye could not be found, however State Representative-Elect Steffen did conduct an interview with the Green Bay Press.