Washington State Assembly
Newly-reelected Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker addresses members of his staff and cabinet during a post-election day gathering at the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison on Wednesday.
Madison — Gov. Scott Walker addressed the largest Republican majority in the state Assembly in more than a half-century Monday, urging them to work together with him to serve as a counterpoint to the federal government.
At the same meeting, the incoming Assembly majority voted to keep its speaker in place and elected a new majority leader by promoting its No. 3 official to that No. 2 post.
In a hearing room of the Capitol, Republican lawmakers roared their approval as Walker and their newly victorious candidates from the Nov. 4 election introduced themselves to their new colleagues.
Walker said that after the difficult political struggles of the past four years, Republicans should stick together "like a family." In comments that will only add to speculation about his potential 2016 bid for president, the Republican governor told lawmakers they could serve as a national example to contrast with Washington.
At the federal level, Republicans have just taken full control of Congress, leaving it an open question how they and President Barack Obama will work with one another.
"We literally — and I don't think this is an overstatement — we have a chance to make this country better, " Walker told the lawmakers. "...We can show people all across the country that we are a counter to Washington."
Some of the opponents that Walker might face in 2016, such as U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, are in the nation's capital, and the governor has been challenging them bluntly to do something with their new Senate majority.
"Your election is a message from the American people that they want change, " Walker wrote in the Politico column. "So go big and bold."
The Wisconsin election increased Republicans' 60-seat majority in the 99-member Assembly by one to three seats. The final figures will be known after official canvasses and possible recounts in two districts.
Whatever the outcome, Republicans will enjoy their largest Assembly majority since the 1957 session — a point that Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) proudly emphasized to his fellow GOP lawmakers.
"It's been said that we have the most conservative caucus in Wisconsin Assembly history. We have exciting things to do, " said Vos, who was unanimously re-elected to his post as the leader of the Assembly.