Peter Barca to Step Down as Assembly Minority Leader

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca is stepping down from his post leading the Democrats in his house after 6 1/2 years in that role. Olivia Hwang, a spokeswoman for the Kenosha lawmaker and former congressman, confirmed he would be leaving his leadership post on Sept. 30 but remain in the Legislature.

Assembly Democrats have been increasingly concerned about the lack of effectiveness of their caucus, with many feeling the group often failed to have a unified strategy in floor debates.

Some members were upset with Barca’s prominent role in getting approval for an incentive package to bring a Foxconn Technology Group display screen plant to southeastern Wisconsin. Most Democrats oppose the package because of its $3 billion cost and provisions that exempt the company from some environmental rules.

Many of Barca’s colleagues were comfortable with his support for the package, but bothered by how closely he had worked with Republican leaders on the issue, said one person familiar with Thursday’s meeting. That person and others spoke on the condition they not be named because of the sensitivity of the meeting.

Those familiar with the discussions named Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) as one possible candidate to replace Barca. It was not immediately clear who else might run.