November 8, 2006

Elections 2006: A Democratic Awakening

This year’s elections proved to be worthy of all the hype and activity that surrounded them.  The results will bring major changes to the political landscape both nationally and here in Wisconsin.

On a national level, the election means that Democrats have taken over the House of Representatives.  Winning more seats than even the most generous projections, voters overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates in this year’s elections and have given Democrats control of the House for the first time since 1995.

In Wisconsin, Congresswoman Gwen Moore was re-elected, as were incumbent Democrats Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind, and David Obey.  On the Republican side, James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, and Paul Ryan were re-elected. 

The big news for the Wisconsin Congressional races came when former Speaker of the Assembly John Gard was defeated by Democratic challenger Dr. Steve Kagen for control over the hotly contested seat vacated by Mark Green.  Democrats also made a strong push in the US Senate, and in Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herb Kohl easily re-elected

In state races, Governor Jim Doyle was re-elected for a second term, making him the first democratic Governor in more than thirty years to win re-election.  Governor Doyle, Senate Democrats, and I will also have a little more help in the legislature, as Democrats have won a majority in the State Senate.  Democrats performed well in several hotly contested races across the state, and I am excited for the opportunities this majority brings for my colleagues and the people of Wisconsin.

Although Democrats made a big push in national and state elections, Wisconsinites can expect some challenges down the road.  It’s a huge disappointment for liberals and democrats that Wisconsin voters supported both the Constitutional Amendment and the Referendum that were on the ballot.  I expect the Constitutional Amendment, which re-enforces the ban on same-sex marriage and will limit other partner benefits, to be challenged in Wisconsin and national courts and to have a negative affect on job growth in Wisconsin, particularly at the University of Wisconsin.

Overall, the elections brought a wave of good news to our country and to Wisconsin.  Voters made it clear that the country was heading in the wrong direction under Republican leadership, and that Democrats more clearly represented their values and beliefs.  Now, Democrats have a responsibility to make good on their promises and I for one am looking forward to the opportunity we now have to bring real, positive change to Wisconsin and the United States.