WATERTOWN — He’s sworn-in and ready to go.
Watertown’s John Jagler is now representing the 13th Senate District and said his transition from working in the state’s 37th Assembly District to the state senate has been an exciting one for him and his staff.
“Fortunately, there are several former assembly members in that body and it’s been great getting to know my new colleagues in this house better,” Jagler said this past weekend.
He said he looks forward to working across the aisle when it’s possible.
“Many of the issues I have focused on over the years, such as mental health, disability concerns, the opiate crisis and others, aren’t partisan issues,” Jagler said. “They’re Wisconsin concerns. I have a strong history of bipartisan support on the bills I have authored.”
Jagler said the partisan divide remains strong in the state Capitol and in local communities and everyone needs to remember that a good idea is a good idea, regardless of what side of the aisle it comes from.
“Having said that, I’m never going to back down from my conservative beliefs and will always fight for the people I represent,” he said.
When asked about his goals for his new office early in his tenure, Jagler said he is “switching houses in the middle of the process to craft the next state budget,” adding the budget is the priority of any session as the state recovers from COVID-19. “It’s even more important now to make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely.”
In his campaign for the 13th Senate District, Jagler said he would challenge Gov. Tony Evers on his policies and he said in recent days that the state budget will be the focal point for these discussions.
“The governor submitted a political document full of ‘wish lists’ instead of a true spending document,” he said. “It would raise taxes by nearly $2 billion. As we recover and move on from COVID-19 and one-time federal dollars flow into the state, raising taxes and spending more would be a tremendous mistake.”
Jagler talked about the people who have been among his political and governmental, as well as personal heroes, over the years — people after whom he patterns his life and career.
“I don’t have to look too far from this area to find my political heroes,” he said. “The Fitzgerald brothers — Scott and Jeff — have been friends and mentors. I worked for Jeff as his communications director while he was assembly speaker during the Act 10 turmoil and I admire their courage and leadership. I’m so honored to follow his brother into the senate.”
Jagler said he also doesn’t have to look far to find heroes in his personal life.
“My wife, Heidi went back to school twice, once to become a registered nurse and then again to earn her bachelor of arts in nursing,” he said. “She cared for our nation’s heroes at the VA Hospital in Madison. She now is helping our daughter, Grace, who has Down syndrome, grow our family dog treat business. Her dedication to her patients and our family has been truly inspirational.”
Jagler will continue to live in Watertown and make the commute to Madison to perform his job. Watertown has been his home for more than 30 years, going back to when he moved to the city for his first radio job at the former WMLW and WTTN.
“As my radio career grew, I stayed here and commuted, first, to Madison and then, to Milwaukee,” he said. “The people here, the community and the quality of life Watertown provides was well worth the commute time. I’m proud to call Watertown my home.”
Jagler called serving in the state legislature, “an amazing experience and a privilege.”
“Walking into our beautiful capitol is a special experience every day and I am grateful to the voters who put their trust in me to make Wisconsin a better place to work, live and raise a family,” he said.
Jagler said he brings considerable qualities to his new office as a person and professional.
“I think I’ve grown into this role and am ready for the challenge of serving in the senate,” he said. “The bulk of our work in the Capitol isn’t something that makes the news. It’s helping constituents. My staff and I are ready to help the people of the 13th and we look forward to that responsibility.”