New legislators from Rock County look ahead to their first session

MADISON, Wis. — For Reps. Clinton Anderson and Ellen Schutt, two new members of the state Assembly from Rock County, what led them to Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony was a call to service.

“I just really wanted to help people,” said Anderson, a Beloit Democrat.

“I love my community and I wanted to make sure we had a strong place in Madison,” said Schutt, a Republican from Clinton.

Both are serving in their first term in the Legislature, but for Schutt, this is not her first stint working in the state Capitol — just a few months ago she served as a legislative aid, but now gets to run her own office.

“It’s an honor, and you can’t ever take it for granted, being a voice for your community,” she said.

Her district spans many small communities in Rock and Walworth counties, and she is looking forward to advocating for the needs of those communities.

“How do we help communities that are struggling, whether they are mid-sized or smaller, pay for those services — because it’s a need,” Schutt said. “When you call 911, you want someone to show up, whether your house is on fire or something tragic has happened in your community.”

Both legislators are filling seats left by two well-established former Assembly representatives. Schutt’s seat was previously held by Amy Loudenbeck, who served on the powerful budget-writing committee and ran for secretary of state this fall. Anderson’s seat was held by Mark Spreitzer, who was among Democratic leadership in the Assembly but who now is in the Senate.

“I wanted to make sure we continue the progress that Representative Spreitzer did,” Anderson said, “and with my background in social work and also on local government, I thought it was a good combination to bring my voice up here in Madison.”

He added that working across the aisle is a priority for him this term.

“I know we had a lot of gridlock in the last four years, but I really think we’re going to start seeing some progress in the next four,” Anderson said.