Wisconsin Senate Democrats choose Hesselbein as new minority leader

The Democratic caucus in the Wisconsin Senate elected Sen. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, to replace Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, as minority leader.

Associated Press

December 4, 2023

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Diane Hesselbein speaks and gestures with her right hand while standing in a room with out-of-focus people seated in the background, in a room with a marble pillar in the background.

State Sen. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, speaks during a floor session of the Wisconsin Senate on June 14, 2023, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. The chamber's Democratic caucus elected Hesselbein as minority leader on Dec. 1, 2023, to replace Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, who will be running for Dane County Executive in 2024. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

AP News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democrats in the Wisconsin state Senate have a new leader.

The caucus elected Dianne Hesselbein of Middleton on Dec. 1 to replace Melissa Agard as minority leader, the caucus’ assistant leader, Jeff Smith, said in a news release.

The move came a day after Agard announced that she will run for Dane County executive next year. State law bars her from holding a Senate office and county executive office simultaneously for more than two months.

The jockeying comes as the state Supreme Court’s liberal majority appears poised to invalidate Republican-drawn legislative district boundaries, perhaps by the end of the year.

The boundaries have helped the GOP maintain control of both the Senate and Assembly since 2012. Republicans currently hold a 22-11 majority in the Senate and a 64-35 majority in the Assembly. New maps could help Democrats gain seats in both chambers.

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