Wisconsin experienced the biggest statewide Republican sweep in the country on November 2 — both legislative chambers and the governor’s mansion went from blue to red. Gov.-elect Scott Walker had urged the current government hold off on significant undertakings, like the negotiation of public employee contracts, until his administration takes office next year to ensure a smooth transition. And here’s how the Democrats responded:
Madison – Democrats in the Assembly approved contracts for tens of thousands of state workers Wednesday in a rare lame-duck session before they relinquish power to Republicans.
The Assembly approved the first two contracts 48-47. They are now voting on other contracts.
The deciding vote was cast by Rep. Jeff Wood, a Chippewa Falls independent who was released from jail earlier Wednesday so he could attend the legislative session. Wood, who did not run for re-election, is serving a 60-day jail sentence for a fourth offense of driving under the influence of an intoxicant.
The vote marks only the second time in state history that the state legislature has held a lame-duck session to approve state employee contracts. More on Wood:
Rep. Jeff Wood, [w]ho cast the pivotal vote to pass state worker contracts, refused to answer questions from reporters following the session.
A herd of about 20 media waited outside the Assembly for Wood to exit chamber. He then led them on a chase down two flights of stairs into an office on the ground floor of the Capitol as reporters tried to ask him about his vote, and how he got to the Capitol today.
His answers consisted of terse statements like, “I’m not going to talk to you.”
In the past, he’s found more creative ways to avoid the media.