“Who?” you may ask are Glenn, Tom, & “Fitz”? There have been many well- known trios in our American past. Larry, Moe, and Curly were the Three Stooges. Huey, Dewey, and Louis were Donald Duck’s nephews. Peter, Paul, and Mary were a singing trio. Many American students have read The Three Musketeers by Dumas. Others would talk of The Three Tenors or The Three Amigos. But, who are Glenn, Tom, and “Fitz”?
After some thinking you may come up with Wisconsin Congressmen Glenn Grothman (R-6th), Tom Tiffany (R-7th) and Scott “Fitz” Fitzgerald (R-5th). Five of Wisconsin’s eight Congressmen are Republican so why these three? The commonality is these three gentlemen have each experienced a decade in the Wisconsin State Senate to include a term together in 2013-2014.
Representative Glenn Grothman was elected to Congress in 2014 after a decade in the Wisconsin State Senate. He is a former practicing attorney and is Wisconsin’s longest currently serving Republican Congressman.
Representative Tom Tiffany was elected to Congress in 2020 – twice! Earlier in the year he was elected to fill the vacancy after Congressman Sean Duffy resigned for personal reasons and then was re-elected in the regular November election. He was elected to the State Senate in 2010 and had previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly. His experiences include being a dam tender, a town supervisor, and a small businessman. Some in the Coulee Region may know Congressman Tiffany as the 7th Congressional District includes parts of Monroe and Jackson Counties.
Representative Scott “Fitz” Fitzgerald was also elected in 2020 after serving in the State Senate for more than a quarter century. His experiences include being a former associate newspaper publisher, a retired US Army Reserve LT. Colonel and a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College.
Wisconsin’s other two Republican Congressmen, neither with state legislative experience, are Congressmen Bryan Steil (R-1st) and Mike Gallagher (R-8th). Steil was elected in 2018 and is a former attorney and businessman. Gallagher was elected in 2016 and is a former US Marine Corps Intelligence Officer and Iraq War Veteran. He has a Ph.D. in International Relations and is a former staffer on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Wisconsin’s three Democratic Congressmen are Mark Pocan (D-2nd), Ron Kind (D-3rd), and Gwendolynne Moore (D-4th). Pocan was elected in 2012 after more than a decade in the State Assembly. Kind was a former prosecutor who was elected in 1996 and has recently announced his retirement at the end of the current term. Moore is a former government bureaucrat who was first elected in 2004. With Ron Kind’s pending retirement, Gwen Moore could be a poster child for term limits.
US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) may want to claim the distinction of being a poster child for term limits as she was first elected to Congress in 1998 prior to being elected to the Senate. And, prior to that, she has four years of experience in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Derrick Van Orden, the former Congressional candidate, retired Navy SEAL, and Afghan War Veteran appears to be the conservative candidate of choice to replace Ron Kind in Congress. He has been continually campaigning since shortly after the last election and his military experience will be valuable in Congress with the recent news from Afghanistan. There is a long list of prospective conservative candidates for Governor and, if Senator Johnson isn’t a candidate for re-election, for US Senate. If any of these candidates live in the 2nd or 4th Congressional Districts, they may want to reconsider and compete for Congress instead.
Some frown at electing or re-electing career politicians such as Congressmen Pocan, Kind, and Moore, or Senator Baldwin. Instead they like a candidate with a primary career making politics a second career. Senator Ron Johnson and Congressmen Steil and Gallagher fit this mold as will Derrick Van Orden. President Biden is a career politician while politics is a second career for former President Tump. However, it must be acknowledged that former State Senators –each with a decade or more State Senate experience --Grothman, Tiffany, and Fitzgerald are doing a good job representing their constituents (and Wisconsin) in Congress. Congressman Tiffany, for example, seems to be asking the pertinent tough questions about the Afghan refugees coming to the Coulee Region.