Where Are Act 10 Players Today?
Governor and three-fourths of legislators engaged in 2011 battle over law crushing public unions have moved on.
Three out of every four lawmakers who went through the historical Act 10 fight exactly one decade ago are no longer in the Legislature. So, where are many of those elected officials now?
Two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker, defeated in 2018 by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, pushed Act 10 through the Legislature to abolish collective bargaining for most public employees and to make them pay more for health care and pensions. Walker is now president of the Washington-based Young America’s Foundation, which takes a conservative message to students and young adults. He spoke over the weekend at the Conservative PAC convention.
Of the top four Republican leaders in 2011 – Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assistant Majority Leader Glenn Grothman, Senate President Mike Ellis and Joint Finance Co-chair Alberta Darling – only Darling is still a senator.
Fitzgerald and Grothman are now members of Congress. Fitzgerald represents the Fifth District in the U.S. House; Grothman, the Sixth District.
Ellis retired in 2014 and died four years later.
Two GOP senators who voted for Act 10 – Joe Leibham and Neal Kedzie – are lobbyists. Leibham works for a law firm; Kedzie is president of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. Another, Leah Vukmir, is vice president for state affairs of the National Taxpayers Union.
The only Republican senator to vote against Act 10, former Majority Leader Dale Schultz, retired in 2014.
These were the six top Assembly Republican leaders in 2011: Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer, Majority Leader Scott Suder, Assistant Majority Leader Dan Knodl, Caucus Chair Joan Ballweg and Joint Finance Cochair Robin Vos.
Jeff Fitzgerald is a lobbyist whose clients include Alliant Energy, Consumer Data Industry Assn., DoorDash Inc., HNTB Corp., SmileDirectClub, Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, Wisconsin Genetic Counselors Association and the Wisconsin Wine and Spirit Institute.
President of the Wisconsin Paper Council, Suder is also a lobbyist.
Kramer left the Assembly in disgrace after being accused of groping a female aide.
Another Assembly Republican, Joel Kleefisch, is also a lobbyist.
Ballweg and 11 other Assembly Republicans moved to the Senate: Andre Jacque, Senate President Chris Kapenga, Steve Nass, Dale Kooyenga, Howard Marklein, Kathy Bernier, David Craig, Jerry Petrowski, Roger Roth, Tom Tiffany and Paul Farrow.
Tiffany was elected as 7th District member of the U.S. House last year. Farrow was elected Waukesha County executive in 2015.
Only 14 of the 53 Assembly Republicans who voted for Act 10 are still in the Assembly. One of four Assembly Republicans who voted against it – Rep. Travis Tranel – is still a member. Another Republican who voted against it, Dean Kaufert, is mayor of Neenah.
Four Assembly Democrats from the Act 10 fight still hold elective office: Jon Richards is a Milwaukee County judge, JoCasta Zamarripa is a Milwaukee Common Council member, Louis Molepske is the Portage County district attorney, and Cory Mason is Racine’s mayor.
But the memories of that epic battle still remain.
- Record-High State Job Turnover Deepens Trend Started After Act 10 - Erik Gunn - Jun 7th, 2023
- State Has Nation’s Largest Dip in Union Members - Christine Hatfield - Feb 22nd, 2022
- Public Employees Seek a Voice At Work - Erik Gunn - Mar 2nd, 2021
- The State of Politics: Where Are Act 10 Players Today? - Steven Walters - Mar 1st, 2021
- Evers Budget Restores Union Rights - Shawn Johnson - Feb 22nd, 2021
- The State Of Politics: Ten Years After Act 10 - Steven Walters - Jul 27th, 2020
- Op Ed: Extend Act 10 to Cover Police - Will Flanders and Cori Petersen - Jun 17th, 2020
- Urban MKE Flashback: Was Act 10 Necessary? - Bruce Murphy - Mar 11th, 2020
- Can Union Organizers Thread Act 10 Needle? - Erik Gunn - Jan 28th, 2020
- Act 10 Caused Big Decline in Unions - Miranda Suarez - Nov 22nd, 2019
Read more about ACT 10 here