Get to Know a Freshman: Week 3

As we continue our series of “Get to Know a Freshman,” we again bring you information on 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 the following new legislators – state senators-elect Howard Marklein and Roger Roth and state representatives-elect Janel Brandtjen and Mark Spreitzer. 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 Howard Marklein (R)

Current State Representative Howard Marklein has received a promotion from voters to represent the 17th Senate District, previously held by the now retired Sen. Dale Schultz (R). The 17th Senate District covers parts of Juneau, Sauk, Richland, Grant, Iowa, and Layfayette counties on the southwest side of the state. Marklein beat his opponent Pat Bomhack (D) 55-45; however, the election was closely followed throughout the primary and later due to a contentious recount for the Democratic primary candidates.

State Senator-elect Howard Marklein was elected to the Assembly in 2010, and served as chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, vice-chair of the Committee on Audit, and was a member on the Agriculture, Education, Financial Institutions, and Rural Affairs committees. Marklein is a CPA, and has been part of the Fort Atkinson, Whitewater, and Dodgeville Chambers of Commerce.

2015-2017 Committees: Joint Finance Committee, Member; Revenue, Financial Institutions & Rural Issues Committee, Chair; Transportation & Veteran Affairs Committee, Vice Chair; Labor & Government Reform, Member. 


State Senator-elect Roger Roth (R)

Former State Representative Roger Roth was elected to the 19th Senate District this November, beating his opponent State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber (D) 57 to 43. Roth, who represented the 56th Assembly District from 2006 until 2011 when he lost in a primary for the 8th Congressional seat, will now represent a part of the Fox Valley, including much of the City of Appleton. Senator Mike Ellis, previously the senator for the 19th Senate District, chose not to run for re-election.

Roth, a small-business owner running his family construction business, is also a veteran of the Iraq War, having been deployed to the Middle East four times as a part of the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Roth’s committee work in the Assembly included the committee on Elections and Campaign Reform, and the Speaker’s Taskforce on Preventing Home Foreclosures. His new role was not the only thing Roth celebrated during election; Roth welcomed his second child into the world the morning before Election Day.

2015-2017 Committees: Workforce Development, Public Works & Military Affairs, Chair; Sporting Heritage, Mining & Forestry Committee, Vice-Chair; Insurance, Housing & Trade Committee, Member; Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology, Member.


State Representative-elect Janel Brandtjen (R)

Janel Brandtjen will be the new state representative for the 22nd Assembly District when sworn in on January 5th. The 22nd District, previously held by recently retired State Representative Don Pridemore (R), covers parts of Washington, Waukesha, and Milwaukee counties, including parts of the City of Menomonee Falls. Brandtjen won in the general election against Jessica Read (D) 70 to 30, and handily won a three-way Republican primary in August by a 30-point margin.

Brandtjen has been a small business owner of an advertising agency in Menomonee Falls for fourteen years, has served as a Waukesha County supervisor since 2008 and has been on the Waukesha County Board Executive Committee since 2010. Brandtjen has also served on a number of boards for health and human services organizations and committees.

2015-2017 Committees: Committee on Corrections, Vice-Chair.


State Representative-elect Mark Spreitzer (R)

Mark Spreitzer, state representative-elect for the 45th Assembly District, ran unopposed in the general election after winning the primary race against Sheila DeForest, 54-46. Spreitzer will take over the 45th seat from Representative Janis Ringhand (D), who will also be sworn in on Inauguration Day as State Senator for the 15th Senate District.

Spreitzer, a native of Chicago, attended Beloit College in 2005 and decided to stay in the community after receiving his degree in Political Science in 2009. Currently, he works at Beloit College as Assistant Director of Alumni & Parent Relations and Annual Support. Spreitzer is President of the Beloit City Council, and has served on City Council since 2011. He has also been very involved in non-proft organizations that aid the homeless and the poor.

No announcements have been made on Democratic legislators on Assembly committees.