MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Assembly Republican Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday tapped one of his most outspoken Black critics to help lead his new task force on racial disparities and police policies.
Vos, who is white, announced he has chosen Democratic state Rep. Shelia Stubbs to co-chair the task force. Republican Majority Leader Jim Steineke, who is white, will serve as the other co-chair.
Stubbs has been a vocal critic of GOP legislators’ lack of action to address racial disparities and police brutality. She blasted Republicans last week for taking no action during a special session Gov. Tony Evers called to pass Democratic-authored legislation scaling back use-of-force policies. Evers called the session after a white officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back in Kenosha in August. The shooting sparked days of protests, some of which became violent.
Stubbs told reporters during a news conference at the state Capitol that the task force is not a substitute for action. But she said it’s the only way to get anything done since Republicans control the Legislature and rejected Evers’ bills.
“This task force is not a substitute for action. And it is not a solution. But it is a step forward,” she said. “The Democrats and the Republicans, we are stuck. Right now, this is what we have.”
Steineke also appeared at the news conference, referring to Stubbs multiple times as his “partner.” He said the task force will likely hold its first meeting in late September or early October and then meet every two to three weeks to prepare a bipartisan package of legislation for the next session, set to begin in January. He said the task force will show the nation that government isn’t “broken.”
Vos did not attend the news conference. He thanked Stubbs for accepting the “invitation” to co-chair the task force in a joint news release with Stubbs and Steineke.
“It’s through listening and learning from one another that we can find a way forward together,” Vos said.
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