First African-American Woman in State History to be Co-Chair

(MADISON)  Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) was today appointed as the co-chair of the powerful Joint Committee on Finance by Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona).  Taylor, who is serving her fourth session on the committee and second term in the Senate, is the first African-American woman to be appointed to this dignified position and only the second African-American to hold the chairmanship.  The Joint Committee on Finance is one of the most powerful committees in the Legislature and plays a crucial role in the state budget process and major policy decisions for the state.

“I am grateful for the honor to be named as the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance,” Taylor noted.  “More than ever, Wisconsin needs a finance committee that is focused on job creation, economic development, infrastructure investment, and improving education funding in our state.  It is imperative that those goals, coupled with a comprehensive oversight plan that provides accountability over public spending and taxation, be at the forefront of the committee and are the goals I will pursue.”

Taylor has served on the committee since her election to the Senate in 2004 when she was appointed, as a freshman, by then Majority Leader Judy Robson (D-Beloit).  Taylor rose to the role of ranking Senate member of the committee at the onset of the 2011 session.  Taylor has been a leading force on the committee for education funding, accountability, transit resources, and corrections reform.

“The Joint Committee on Finance is a committee that serves the entire state making funding decisions and important determinations on legislation that greatly affects Wisconsin.  As a woman of color, I look forward to bringing my experiences and voice to the table to seek a mutual agreement on moving Wisconsin forward.  We have many challenges in Wisconsin but Wisconsin has all the resources it needs for economic growth and job creation when we work together.” Taylor concluded.

As co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, Taylor assumes seats on the Joint Committee on Employment Relations, Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Joint Legislative Council, the state Claims Board, the Wisconsin Center District Board, and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Board of Directors, by statute.  For more information on the Joint Committee on Finance visit the committee’s website at:  The committee is comprised of 16 members, 8 from each house of the Legislature, of which 6 each come from the majority party.  Taylor will co-chair the committee with Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington).

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