Wisconsin Republicans to vote on removing Kramer

Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer of Waukesha.
Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer of Waukesha.

GREEN BAY - A state Republican accused of sexual harassment could find out Tuesday if he will lose his leadership position.

The allegations are against Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer of Waukesha. They stem from a trip last week to Washington, D.C.

There are two different allegations. Kramer allegedly touched a woman inappropriately after a fundraiser last Wednesday. He's also accused of verbally abusing another woman on the flight back to Wisconsin.

Assembly Republicans scheduled a party meeting Tuesday morning.

At that time, they'll take a vote on whether or not to remove Kramer from his position. That's a move Gov. Scott Walker agrees with.

"I definitely think the Assembly is right in asking him to step down from his position as part of their leadership team," said Walker.

Kramer hasn't commented on the allegations. His office released a short statement Saturday saying Kramer checked himself into a treatment facility.

The statement didn't specify what kind of facility, but it said there would be no further comment at this time.

State Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, who will lead the meeting, says she fully expects the party to remove Kramer from his leadership role. However, she is not sure if they will replace him or leave the position open.

The majority leader is the second most powerful role in the Assembly.

Charley Jacobs, a political science professor at St. Norbert College, says it is too vital not to fill.

"This is a traffic cop of sorts, both for the Assembly and for the party itself, and you need somebody in that kind of position to relieve other leadership positions of that kind of role," said Jacobs.

Deb Stover, a spokesperson for the Brown County Democrats, is glad Republicans are dealing with the allegations immediately.

"It sounds like it. It sounds very quickly," said Stover. "It's an embarrassment."

If Assembly Republicans do elect a new majority leader, they may not hold the position for long.

The Assembly is expected to be in session only a couple more days this year. There will be a new round of leadership elections in January.

Kramer has served in the Assembly since 2006. He was elected to the majority leader position in September.