Monday was Inauguration Day at the state Capitol. All of the freshmen legislators got sworn in, including several from the north central Wis. area.
Each new representative signed the oath of office for the very first time in the Assembly Chamber.
Five new faces will represent the folks in the north woods: Rep. Mary Czaja (R-35th District), Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-71st District), Rep. John Spiros (R-86th District), Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-34th District) and Rep. Mandy Wright (D-85th District).
It's an unexpected journey for some. Democrat Katrina Shankland, from Stevens Point, went from protester to politician. “And now I'm here representing the Democratic Party in a very different way as a state representative for the 71st. It's a big honor,” Rep. Shankland said.
Inauguration day also opened up a new chapter in Rep. Mandy Wright’s life.
“It definitely reminds me of the first days of teaching, where I have a little anxiety about being in front of my classroom and not knowing what I'm actually teaching,” she said.
The former middle school teacher, who saw her new office for the first time Monday, says she hopes to decorate it with pictures from her district.
“I really want people to feel welcome,” Rep. Wright said. “I want them to feel like a piece of the 85th assembly is here in Madison.”
Across the room, Republican John Spiros from Marshfield says he's confident he and his fellow freshmen will play a major role in fostering a spirit of bipartisanship this session.
“This isn't something about he against she or us against them,” Rep. Spiros said. “It's really one of those things where we all need to work together. So I’m happy to get things done across the board and across the table and this should be one legislature.”
Now the real work comes. Lawmakers hope to introduce the mining bill by either the end of this week or early next week. The freshmen will have orientation through Wed. and will then be on the Assembly floor Thurs.