(The Center Square) – Lena Taylor is leaving the Wisconsin Senate to a chorus of kind words.
Gov. Tony Evers on Friday named Taylor as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge.
“Sen. Taylor is a committed public servant who has dedicated her life to pursuing justice for her community and the people of Wisconsin,” Evers said. “I am confident that she will serve the people of Milwaukee County well as a circuit court judge.”
Taylor was first elected to the State Assembly in 2003, and then to the State Senate two years later.
Taylor resigned her Senate seat Friday and will start as a judge Tuesday.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of the 4th Senate and the 18th Assembly Districts, over the course of my 20-year tenure with the Wisconsin State Legislature. It has, also, been a pleasure to work with my colleagues, staff, state employees and the dedicated Capitol employees, that made it possible for me to serve my constituents,” Taylor said in a statement. “As I prepare for the next phase in my journey of public service, I must admit this feels like a full circle moment. I began my career as a public defender and then private practice attorney. Even in running for public office, the goal of justice reform, accountable and responsive systems, has always been my priority.”
Taylor is leaving with high praise, from both her fellow Democrats and Republicans.
“I will miss working with my friend, Sen. Lena Taylor. Although we come from different backgrounds and political philosophies, Lena and I were able to work together more often than not, as we did on improving policing. Never at a loss for (a lot) of words, Lena was a passionate advocate for Milwaukee and her beliefs,” Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, said Friday. “Even when we weren’t able to reach an agreement, we were often able to reach an understanding. I look forward to working with her in her new capacity as a member of the judiciary.”
“Sen Taylor is a fierce and effective advocate for the people of Milwaukee and her dedication to her community is unmatched. I am confident that the Senator will diligently fulfill the duties of a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge because of her equitable pursuit of justice and commitment to the truth,” Senate Democratic Leader Diane Hesselbein said in a statement of her own. “It has been an honor to serve with Senator Taylor throughout my time in the State Legislature and I salute this excellent choice by Gov. Evers.”
Taylor’s new job opens a seat in the Wisconsin Senate and opens a spot to run under what will likely be new political maps later this year.
Becoming a judge also means a significant pay raise.
Wisconsin lawmakers make a little more than $57,000 a-year. Taylor will make a little more than $164,000 a-year.