Get to Know a Freshman: Week 4

As we continue our series of “Get to Know a Freshman,” we again bring you information on five 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 Senator Van Wanggaard and State Representatives Terry Katsma, Tyler Vorpagel, Adam Jarchow, and Cody Horlacher. 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 Van Wanggaard (R) 

State Senator Van Wanggaard (R) is only technically a freshman senator. In 2012, Wanggaard lost in a recall election to Senator John Lehman (D), who most recently ran for Lieutenant Governor with gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. Wanggaard beat his Democratic opponent by a 24-point margin on Election Day this year, winning back the seat he was elected to in 2011. The 21st Senate District is located in south-eastern Wisconsin and covers much of Racine County.

Prior to serving in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Wanggaard was a Racine area police officer, where he was a police liaison for the school district and police science instructor at the area technical college. In 2002 Wanggaard was elected to the Racine County Board of Supervisors where he served on the Finance and Human Services Committee and Public Protection and Criminal Justice Committee. As a state senator, Wanggaard was on the Labor, Public Safety and Urban Affairs Committee; Economic Development, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee; Insurance and Housing Committee; Natural Resources and Environment Committee; and the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems.

2015-2016 Committee Assignments: Elections & Local Government; Judiciary & Public Safety; Labor & Government Reform; Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties, and Joint Legislative Council


State Representative Terry Katsma (R)

State Representative Terry Katsma (R) is the new state representative for the 26th Assembly District, which covers much of Sheboygan County, including the southern and eastern part of Sheboygan County, previously represented by the now retired Rep. Mike Endsley (R). Katsma won his seat by a wide margin in November against Democratic opponent Terry Van Akkeren. A native of Sheboygan, Katsma has been working in the financial industry for 34 years. Katsma’s education includes a bachelor’s degree from Dordt College and an MBA from Marquette University. Katsma has also served on the Sheboygan City/County Shared Services Committee.

2015-2016 Committee Assignments: Financial Institutions (Vice chair); Consumer Protection; Housing and Real Estate; Ways and Means; Workforce Development


State Representative Tyler Vorpagel (R)

State Representative Tyler Vorpagel (R) is the new legislator for the 27th Assembly District, previously represented by the now retired Rep. Steve Kestell (R). Vorpagel, who won on Election Day by twenty-eight points against Democratic candidate Scott Heinig, will be representing parts of Sheboygan County, including the northern part of the city of Sheboygan. Vorpagel’s campaign faced a tough battle when he won a three way Republican primary by a few points (37% Vorpagel; 33% Darryl Carlson; 31% Jackie Jarvis). Vorpagel has worked in former Congressman Tom Petri’s district office since 2007.

Listen to an audio interview with Rep. Tyler Vorpagel.

2015-2016 Committee Assignments: Campaigns and Elections (Vice chair); Children and Families; Public Benefit Reform; State Affairs and Government Operations; Transportation


State Representative Adam Jarchow (R)

State Representative Adam Jarchow (R) is the new legislator for the 28th Assembly District, previously represented by, now retired, former Representative Erik Severson (R). The 28th Assembly District is located in the western part of Wisconsin, covering parts of Burnett and Polk County, plus the city of Somerset. Jarchow won on Election Day with 62% of the vote.

Jarchow has been an attorney for small businesses and farmers for ten years. He is also a volunteer firefighter for Apple River and on the board of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation.

2015-2016 Committee Assignments: Tourism (Vice chair); Energy & Utilities; Financial Institutions


State Representative Cody Horlacher (R)

State Representative Cody Horlacher (R) is the new state representative for the 33rd Assembly District, a district that covers parts of Walworth and Jefferson counties, including the cities of Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, and Mukwonago. Previously, the district was represented by now State Senator Steve Nass, who was elected to represent the 11th Senate District this November. Horlacher won a three way Republican primary by a wide margin, and was unopposed in the general election.

Horlacher grew up near the district, and received his business degree at UW-Whitewater, and his law degree from Marquette University. During law school, Horlacher worked in the Chambers of Wisconsin Supreme Court for Justice Michael Gableman, the Public Defender’s Office, and as Walworth County Assistant District Attorney.

2015-2016 Committee Assignments: Judiciary (Vice chair); Campaigns & Elections; Constitution & Ethics; Criminal Justice & Public Safety; Education; Interstate Affairs.



Get to Know a Freshman Series: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3