State Senate Dems elect Madison’s Melissa Agard as new minority leader

Melissa Agard
Courtesy: Wisconsin State Legislature

MADISON, Wis. — State Sen. Melissa Agard of Madison will be the next Senate Minority Leader after being unanimously elected by Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

Agard will take over as head of the Senate caucus for the retiring State Sen. Janet Bewley. Agard announced her intention to run for Minority Leader last week.

“Our caucus is diverse, talented, and determined, and I am eager to work with each of my colleagues for the people of Wisconsin,” Agard said in a statement Tuesday.

Democrats held their internal leadership elections on Tuesday after Republicans held theirs last week in the days following the November election. Republicans voted to continue with State Sen. Devin LeMahieu as Senate Majority Leader and State Sen. Chris Kapenga as Senate President.

“I look forward to working with Senate Leader LeMahieu and Senate President Kapenga. While we fall on different sides of the aisle ideologically, I know that we are united in our shared commitment to do right by our love of Wisconsin,” Agard said in her statement. “Regardless of who our friends and neighbors vote for at the top of the ticket, there is more that unites us than divides us, and I am confident that when we work together we have the power to see that ordinary people, Main Street businesses, and local communities are better served by their state government.”

Republicans picked up an additional seat in the State Senate during last week’s elections and now hold a 22-11 majority in the chamber.

Senate Democrats also elected State Sen. Jeff Smith of Brunswick as assistant minority leader, State Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee as caucus chair, and State Sen.-elect Dianne Hesselbein of Middleton as caucus vice-chair.

Agard served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2012 until 2020, when she was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate.