Editorial | It’s vital to keep Don Vruwink in the state Assembly

  • Cap Times editorial

In a Legislature where deep partisan and ideological differences serve as excuses for inaction, Don Vruwink refuses to accept that it is impossible to get things done.

The representative from the 33rd Assembly District has served as a committed and effective advocate for expanding broadband, protecting Main Street businesses and funding public education — especially in the rural regions of the state that are too frequently neglected by powerbrokers in Madison. What’s striking is that Vruwink has done this as a Democrat in an Assembly chamber that is controlled by Republicans.

Vruwink’s ability to leap partisan and ideological divides comes as no surprise to those who know his story.

An award-winning teacher who retired after 42 years in the classroom and on the sports fields of Milton — where he coached more than 90 high school teams — Vruwink served on the Milton City Council and School Board before his election to the Assembly. He arrived in Madison with a deep commitment to grassroots representation that was rooted in a faith that the job of a legislator is to represent the voters rather than play partisan games.

Vruwink has kept that faith, and it is one of the many reasons why we strongly encourage voters in Jefferson and Rock counties to vote on Nov. 8 to support this outstanding legislator for a new term.

It’s true that Vruwink’s bipartisan approach makes him something of an outlier in the current Legislature. But Wisconsinites who recall less divisive times will recognize the representative as a throwback to the days when the Legislature was made up not of career politicians but of citizens who had come to Madison to get things done for their constituents.

Voters tell us that they want to renew that sort of representation, and we have no doubt that, in a normal election year, Vruwink would be a cinch for reelection. But this is not a normal year.

Republicans are trying to achieve a veto-proof majority so that they won’t have to work with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers or with Democrats in the Legislature. To that end, they gerrymandered district lines to make it harder for Democrats from outside the state’s major cities to win reelection.

But Vruwink is counting on voters to show their independence, and he’s giving them every opportunity to get to know him. While his Republican challenger, Republican Scott Johnson, has refused to debate the issues, Vruwink has shown up at community events throughout the district, knocked on doors in small cities, villages and townships, and jumped at every opportunity to lay out his views in community forums and debates.

The voters of Jefferson and Rock counties should take notice. Don Vruwink’s energetic campaign confirms that he is excited about giving them an engaged and effective voice in the Legislature. And Vruwink’s record as a truly bipartisan legislator confirms that he can and will do just that.


Editorial, Cap Times. “Editorial: It’s Vital to Keep Don Vruwink in the State Assembly.” The Cap Times, 26 Oct. 2022, https://captimes.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-it-s-vital-to-keep-don-vruwink-in-the-state-assembly/article_f22ffae4-53d5-559a-8f97-ce7598af064f.html.

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