State Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to the legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee (JFC) on Wednesday.
“Duey has been a steadfast conservative voice during his time in the legislature, and his commitment to making government more efficient and responsive to the taxpayers’ interests should be commended,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “I have no doubt that Duey will continue to be a strong voice for his constituents, while also serving on the committee that tracks every dollar that flows in and out of Madison.”
Stroebel was appointed to replace state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) who is joining the administration of Governor Scott Walker as the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
In a statement, Stroebel promised to continue to push for conservative reforms on the JFC.
“As a member of the Joint Finance Committee, I will dig deeply into the budget looking for bold reforms that reduce government’s size and spend our scarce taxpayer resources more effectively,” Stroebel said. “JFC will have our challenges in the coming budget. I look forward to tackling the tough issues with my colleagues on the committee utilizing a citizen legislator approach.”
Stroebel was one of three state senators called “terrorists” by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) after Stroebel, Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) extracted veto concessions from Walker at the end of the state budget process, after the budget went through the JFC.
“Frankly I wish Governor Walker hadn’t negotiated with terrorists,” Vos told Mike Gousha on the television program, Up Front. “That’s a bad way to operate the legislature.”
“Terrorists? You’re calling rogue senators ‘terrorists’?” Gousha asked in a rare follow-up question.
“That’s what they are,” Vos answered. “You don’t hold somebody hostage for your own personal needs. What you say, you negotiate, you give and you take.
After the program aired, Stroebel responded to Vos’ statement. “To imply fellow Republican legislators are terrorists is the type of hyperbolic rhetoric Wisconsinites are tired of hearing,” Stroebel said. “Wisconsinites expect more of their leaders than to make these kind of personal attacks.”
Vos later apologized in a statement, saying that he had violated his own “guidelines.” However, he still criticized Stroebel, Nass and Kapenga.
“I continue to be concerned, however, that the actions of a few Senators, who cannot work with their colleagues in their own caucus, could disrupt progress on important legislation for the people of Wisconsin,” Vos said. “Will we now have to run everything past a few rogue holdouts before committees take executive action?”
Stroebel was a opponent of increasing taxes and fees to fund transportation, a high priority of Assembly Republicans on the JFC. In an op-ed for RightWisconsin, Stroebel said raising the gas tax wasn’t conservative. “Plain and simple, raising taxes grows government,” Stroebel wrote. “In this scenario, by billions.”