Newsmakers: Exit Interview with Representative Barbara Toles (D-Milwaukee)
Explaining her decision to retire from the Assembly, Democratic Rep. Barbara Toles of Milwaukee said the last legislative session was especially "painful" because Republicans who controlled the Legislature refused to consider proposals from Democrats. Elected in a 2004 special election and re-elected four times, Toles said in an April 10 exit interview that many legislators refused to understand how different and complex City of Milwaukee problems are, and some of those legislators have never even been to Wisconsin’s largest city. Unlike some legislators who come to the Capitol just to fight with their opponents, Toles said she quietly tried to resolve problems. She said it took three years to pass a bill saying disciplined Milwaukee police officers would not be paid — a fight that taught her her the power of special-interest groups.