Agard elected Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — State Sen. Melissa Agard, from Madison, has been chosen to lead Senate Democrats who return just 11 lawmakers out of 33 for the two-year session that kicks off next month.

Democrats unanimously elected Agard on Tuesday to replace Sen. Janet Bewley, of Mason, who did not seek reelection to the Senate.

Agard was elected to the state Senate in 2020 after serving in the Assembly since 2013. Republicans last week reelected Sen. Devin LeMahieu to serve as majority leader.

Agard said Tuesday she knows that with just 11 out of 33 senators, “the deck is a bit stacked against” Democrats, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Republicans have a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate, but fell two seats shy of the 66 they needed in the Assembly. A supermajority of votes is required to override a gubernatorial veto. Had Republicans achieved that, they could have overridden any vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who won reelection last week.

Agard said despite being in the minority, Democrats will continue to push for priorities including affordable health care, nonpartisan legislative maps, gun control and marijuana legalization. Republicans have blocked all of those initiatives in recent years.

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