Lawmakers defy Gov. Grinch with Capitol Christmas tree

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Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 7, 2020

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers stole Christmas from the Capitol. Two lawmakers have brought it back.

Evers last month announced there would be no towering, freshly cut Wisconsin “holiday tree” in the State Capitol rotunda because of COVID-19. He ordered the Capitol closed to the public in March, the start of the pandemic. 

Gov. Grinch sent school teachers around the state a letter saying he would not accept student-made ornaments this year because there will be no tree. 

State Reps. Shae Sortwell (R-Gibson) and Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) decided Wisconsin more than ever needed a little Christmas. So they set up a smaller artificial Christmas tree in the Capitol rotunda. The legislator elves say it won’t cost taxpayers a dime, and they will gladly accept and display children’s ornaments. 

“It has been a hundred-plus-year tradition for a Christmas tree to be set-up in the middle of the rotunda every holiday season in December. I was disappointed to learn that Governor Evers was ending that long-standing tradition this year,” Sortwell said. 

The Republican lawmakers are asking Evers to “do the right thing” and allow the tree to stand in the rotunda this season.  

Last year, Evers ended former Gov. Scott Walker’s long-standing practice of calling the tree what it is — a Christmas tree. Instead, Evers dubbed it the “holiday tree” and asked Wisconsin students to submit “science-related ornaments.” 

No science ornaments this year in his COVID-19-related tree decree. 

Sortwell and Tittl and their Republican colleagues couldn’t imagine a year without a Christmas tree — especially this year from hell. 

“The legislature believes the holiday spirit is priceless. Thus, we continue the hundred-plus-year tradition to provide a symbol of hope for everyone that has experienced a difficult year. Merry Christmas!” the lawmakers said. 

Watch the video of the lawmakers decorating their “no-maintenance” Christmas tree here.

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