On Wednesday, veteran Wisconsin state politician Alberta Darling announced that she will be retiring from her role in the state Senate after a 32-year career.
Darling, a longtime Republican from River Hills, Wisc., plans to step down on Dec. 1. Her departure leaves Republicans one seat short of a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate, until a special election is held to fill the seat. Her district includes such towns as Mequon, Cedarburg, Germantown and Menomonee Falls, more affluent suburbs north of Milwaukee. The district leans heavily conservative.
Darling has been a member of the Senate since 1992, first serving a single term in the Assembly. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says that she has served on the Joint Finance Committee for 22 years and spent six sessions as the committee’s co-chair.
During her time in legislature, Darling has authored more than 200 bills that would go on to become law. She was partially responsible for creating the state’s school voucher program, the EdVest college savings program and a database that tracks the status of sexual assault evidence kits.
Darling held out against a recall election in 2011, spurred by angered Democrats after she along with other GOP legislators supported former Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial bill that stripped many public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Republicans went into elections on Nov. 8 in hopes of gaining two-thirds majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly. This supermajority would give them enough votes to override vetoes cast down by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
While the GOP managed to gain a 22-11 advantage in the Senate, they fell two seats short of a supermajority in the Assembly, meaning they are unable to override any of Evers’ vetoes until at least the next session.
Darling, who is in the middle of her four-year term, leaves Republicans with a 21-11 advantage in the Senate, just one seat shy of a supermajority. However, even if a Republican wins her seat in the special election, the Assembly will remain two seats short of a supermajority.
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