The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

State Senator receives high party honor

State Senator and UW-Eau Claire graduate Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) was elected president pro tempore last Tuesday by the members of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Kreitlow is in his second term as a state senator; he was first elected in 2006. The president pro tempore position is both a formal officer of the Senate as well as a member of the leadership within the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Kreitlow decided to run for the position at the urging of several of his fellow Senate Democrats. He replaces Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee, who did not seek his old job.

“It is very satisfying and an honor to be chosen by my colleagues for understanding the importance of orderly floor debate,” Kreitlow said. “A well-organized legislative session is very important.”

Story continues below advertisement

Kreitlow said his main duty as pro tempore will be to stand in for the president of the Senate, Fred Risser of the 26th district in Madison. He said this may happen if Risser needs to leave the chair for some reason, ranging from not being able to physically attend to personal reasons.

“The pro tempore has to be ready to stand in,” Kreitlow said. “The position requires a thorough understanding of legislative procedures and rules.”

Kreitlow highlighted that Risser, 81, has been involved in legislation since 1956. He is currently the longest serving state legislator in the United States.

“He is really the Energizer bunny,” Kreitlow said. “He is not going anywhere soon but if he needs a break, we need a president pro tempore to step in.”

Kreitlow added his new position includes making sure debate goes smoothly and everyone in the Senate is treated fairly, whether they are in the majority or minority.

“With 33 senators, not all are expected to be masters of the specific rules,” he said. “Those (positions) do need the confidence of all members and I am flattered to have that.”

Kreitlow has lived in Eau Claire on and off for about 35 years. He first came to the city in the early 70s when his father moved here. He attended UW-Eau Claire from 1982-1986 and has been in Chippewa Falls since 1995.

Kreitlow said the most enjoyable thing about being a senator thus far has been working with his constituents in the district.

“We are getting many more phone calls, letters and emails than I thought legislatures got,” he said. “My staff and I enjoy helping people with questions and talking to them about new ideas for state laws . I travel around the area and talk to people to help them and that is incredibly satisfying.”

Kreitlow’s main goal in his next term is to fill the budget shortfall of $4-$5 billion without harming education and vital local services. Other priorities include making sure to continue to encourage the use of biofuels and new energies in Wisconsin for the future. Kreitlow also wants to keep seeking ways to lower property taxes and make the overall tax system more fair for middle class families.

Health care continues to be a priority for Kreitlow as well, but is being put on hold for a while.

“We are willing to wait to see if the Obama administration will work on establishing a national health care system while we work on our budget shortfall,” he said, adding that if that does not happen they will move forward in health care as a state.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
State Senator receives high party honor