'Here & Now' Highlights: Dale Schultz, Sen. Melissa Agard

Here's what guests on the December 1, 2023 episode said about the Wisconsin Supreme Court hearing a case about whether to throw out state legislative district maps, and 2023 for Democrats in the Legislature.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

December 4, 2023

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Dale Schultz and Frederica Freyberg sit facing each other on the Here & Now set.

Dale Schultz and Frederica Freyberg (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

A Republican who voted in favor of Wisconsin’s 2011 round of redistricting has long regretted that approva — former Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz shared his analysis after watching oral arguments before the state Supreme Court in the latest lawsuit over these maps. Democratic state Sen. Melissa Agard announced she will not run for reelection, offering views on the past year as Minority Leader.

Dale Schultz
Former Republican state senator

  • Schultz served in the state Senate from 1991 to 2015, including a period as Majority Leader, and before that was a member of the Assembly, representing districts in southwestern Wisconsin in these chambers. In 2014, he did not seek reelection, citing polarized politics. However, he had voted in 2011 to approve redistricting maps put forth by Republicans – credited with ensuring a lop-sided majority in the Legislature for the party. Schultz subsequently barnstormed the state calling for a non-partisan process to draw district boundaries, and continues to call for “fair” maps. He recalled what led to his vote to approve the 2011 maps.
  • Schultz: “When I was briefed on what the plan was, all I saw was my own district. Historically, redistricting had meant maybe a percent or a half-percent difference in how the votes came out. So it wasn’t that shocking to me when I saw my map. It was shocking to me after the votes came in and I realized that suddenly what was happening in the Legislature did not reflect the overall trend in the state — and not by a little bit, but by a significant amount. … I’ve always thought politicians ought to compete on issues and principles, not on rigging elections. And Democrats have done it. Republicans have done it. It doesn’t mean it’s right.”


Melissa Agard
(D-Madison) and former Senate Majority Leader

  • The state senator announced Nov. 30 she was stepping down from a leadership position and will not run for reelection to the Legislature in 2024, because she will run for Dane County Executive. Agard described the climate for Democrats in the minority during her leadership in 2023 and whether the Republican Party convention in Milwaukee in July 2024 will burnish the majority’s election chances.
  • Agard: “What we’ve seen here in the Capitol building is a lot of extremism from the Republicans in the Legislature — to be more extreme, whether it’s the threat of impeaching Justice Protasiewicz before she even ruled on anything, threats to impeach Megan Wolfe, who has ensured that our elections in Wisconsin are safe, secure and fair. Attacks on trans rights. Attacks on reproductive freedoms. The inability to stand up and protect our water quality and our environment. Folks not willing to have conversations about cannabis legalization. That’s what matters most to folks. And ultimately, if having the Republican convention here in Wisconsin highlights how disconnected the Republican Party is from what ordinary folks in Wisconsin and the United States want, let them talk.”


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