A fixture of Madison politics for nearly a decade, Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, announced Wednesday she will not seek re-election this fall, leaving yet another strongly Democratic seat in the state Legislature up for grabs.
A native of Los Angeles, Taylor, 52, joined the Assembly after a 2011 special election and became known for her passionate floor speeches and advocacy for liberal issues such as abortion rights, gun control and programs for sexual and domestic violence victims.
Taylor declined to comment for this story, but in a statement said her role in the Legislature has been “one of the greatest honors of my life.”
“I have been humbled by the trust my district has placed in me, and it has been a true privilege to serve in some of the most difficult and divisive political times in our state’s history, including during this COVID-19 crisis,” Taylor said in a statement.
Outside the Legislature, Taylor became one of the community’s most vocal opponents against the U.S. Air Force’s plans to base a squadron of F-35 jets at Truax Field at the Dane County Regional Airport.
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“I promised the people of my community that I would always stand up for them, and I believe I was true to this promise,” she added. “I tried never to shy away from important albeit controversial issues while vocally advocating for the people of my community, and the progressive values and traditions that built our great state.”
Taylor’s departure — announced on the same day that Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, the longest serving state or national legislator in American history with 64 years in office, said he will retire after the end of his term — sets up yet another open seat in Madison, the state’s Democratic stronghold. Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, is also retiring and Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, is running for Miller’s seat, creating another vacancy.
Heather Driscoll, who volunteered in Taylor’s office last year, said she is considering a run for Taylor’s District 76 Assembly seat.
Driscoll, an environmentalist and gun prevention advocate, said she will be meeting with friends and family in the coming days to help her come to a decision.
“I learned so much from working with (Taylor),” Driscoll said. “With the Assembly there’s so many issues I’m passionate about that I would be interested in trying to make an impact on.”
Yogesh Chawla, a Dane County Board member representing District 6, wouldn’t say if he was considering a run for seats held by Taylor or Risser, but added “whoever runs for those seats will have incredibly big shoes to fill.”
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