Well, another full year has come and gone. I don’t know about you but it seems that 2019 just flew past.

The older I get the faster they seem to go. All the more reason to make the most of the opportunities that come with the New Year. Like many of you, I make a few resolutions — this year I am going to try and be on time.

As many of you know, one of my favorite things about being your representative is the chance to talk with people across the 25th Senate District, people whose lives are very different from mine — dairy farmers down in Barron County, loggers in Douglas County, commercial fisherman out of Bayfield, to name just a few. I get caught up in these conversations and end up being late for my next meeting. Doing a better job of being on time will make me a better senator, and will make my husband happy!

Another resolution I’ve made is to work even harder to bridge the partisan divide in Madison. The Legislature has just returned from its winter break, just as Gov. Tony Evers’ passed his one year anniversary of assuming office. It’s no secret that the governor and the Republican majority who control the Legislature have had multiple disagreements over the last 365 days, from school funding to gun safety legislation.

The new year provides a chance to put the partisan fights of the past behind us and work together to get even more things done for the people of Wisconsin. I know it’s a common theme in much of my writings, but I truly believe that finding areas where both Republicans and Democrats can agree are what the vast majority of citizens expect from their elected officials.

Just this week I had the opportunity to testify alongside two of my Republican colleagues, Sen. Robert Cowles from Green Bay and Sen. Jerry Petrowski from Marathon.

Sen. Cowles and I are co-authors of Senate Bill 631, which would establish a hydrologic restoration general permit. Flooding seems to be an ever more common occurrence throughout the state, and the permit will authorize new wetland, stream and floodplain restoration and management activities. We can’t stop the rain but we can establish a smoother regulatory process for those interested in flood prevention activities on their own land.

Sen. Petrowski and I are co-authors of Senate Bill 628, which will make some important changes to the wildlife damage abatement program and the wildlife damage claim program. The bill is the result of collaboration between a diverse group of stakeholders, including the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.

It’s easy to get caught up in hot button issues, but we need to concentrate on the things that can bring us together. I hope as the year develops and the presidential race starts to dominate our TV screens and radio dials we can continue to find ways to work together on issues that matter to our friends and neighbors.

That is a resolution I plan to keep.

Sen. Janet Bewley represents the 25th District in the Wisconsin Senate.

Sen. Janet Bewley
Sen. Janet Bewley