Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin State Senate: Democrat and Republican Work to Find Common Ground

Democrat, Republican senators work to forge relationship.  (Janesville Gazette, 8/10/2011)
Excerpt: A Democrat and a Republican beamed as they talked about shared interests Monday in Janesville and Beloit.

What might be even more surprising in this season of donkey-elephant bickering is that the two are members of Wisconsin's Senate, where battle lines have been drawn sharply since February.

Despite the ongoing rancor, Sens. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, and Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, are joining hands, at least on a limited basis.

Cullen visited Schultz's southwest Wisconsin district recently. Schultz visited Cullen's turf Monday.

They said getting to know each other—and each other's districts—is key to getting things done.

They also agree that one of the top things they need to get done is to fix the economy.

On both men's agendas is finding money to help railroads such as Wisconsin & Southern upgrade their tracks, building more attractive transportation options for industry.

The new state budget cut the bonding authority available for railroad upgrades, Schultz said.

Schultz said the cut was understandable because of concerns over the state's bonding- authority use in general, but he and Cullen agree they need to find a way to help the freight-hauling railroads.

"Tim and I have a great partnership," Schultz said.

That relationship might be easier than for others because Schultz and Cullen are considered by many to be moderates—two of the few in that category these days

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