Political scene changing as State Sen. Holperin finishes his ter - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Political scene changing as State Sen. Holperin finishes his term

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For much of his career, Jim Holperin has focused on politics. He's spent the last four years as state senator in the 12th district in the Northwoods.

"I hope there've been some accomplishments there that improved the economy in our area," said Holperin (D-Conover).

Holperin hasn't shied away from the spotlight. Last year he was the target of a recall election after he and other Democratic senators fled to Illinois to protest Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill.

"I don't regret my decision at all," Holperin told Newsline 9.

Holperin ultimately kept his seat, but it's obvious the political turmoil took its toll.

"Frankly, the political atmosphere has changed and I just decided it's time to call it a career, at least in politics," he said.

In a few weeks, Holperin will turn over that seat to someone else. But for the first time in a long time, it won't be a Democrat. Voters elected Republican State Rep. Tom Tiffany in November.

"It was part of the reason that I ran is, for the last 30 years, a Democrat had held the 12th Senate seat, which is really a conservative district," said Tiffany. "I thought it was very important for us to win this seat in order to be able to hold the majority in the Senate."

And it worked. Republicans will control the state senate by two seats, thanks in part to Tiffany's win.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenges and the opportunities that are there now to represent the people of the Northwoods down in Madison," said Tiffany.

Both Republicans and Democrats are promising cooperation as they try to heal the political wounds of the past two years. Holperin says he'll be watching with cautious optimism.

"It's showtime now, and we'll see whether those pledges were sincere and whether politicians who ran for office this fall do indeed want to work in a bipartisan manner," said Holperin.

But that's something Holperin will watch from the outside as he enters life outside the state senate and away from the politics of Madison.

Tom Tiffany will be sworn in as the new state senator on January 7.

The makeup of the state assembly is also changing. Several new representatives will be sworn in from our area. And in two cases, their elections are partly a result of the Wisconsin recall. Months later, that event is still making waves.

Join us for that story Thursday on Newsline 9 at 10:00.

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