Former Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz will not seek reelection, he announced Thursday.
The Oshkosh Democrat has represented his hometown in the Assembly since 2007. In January, he stepped down as the chamber's Democratic leader after four years in the position — a move that allowed him to spend more time in his district and with his family, which includes two young children.
"Despite the changing nature of politics and different roles and responsibilities I have had in the Assembly, the people of Oshkosh have always remained my absolute priority. I am proud of the accomplishments I have been a part of during my time in the Legislature," Hintz said in a statement. "And while disappointed by many of the decisions that were made — or failed to be made — during my tenure, I have always strived to find value in my work that benefitted the people of the 54th District and of our state. I will miss many of the people I have served with, and the important work done each and every day."
Hintz, 48, took on the leadership role following the 2016 election, which gave Republicans a 64-35 majority in the Assembly — the largest edge they'd had since 1957. Republicans now hold a 61-38 majority. Rep. Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, was chosen to lead the caucus in January.
Throughout his legislative tenure, Hintz has served in a variety of leadership roles, including two budget cycles on the Joint Finance Committee. Early in his legislative career, he was chair of the Assembly Consumer Protection Committee and a member of the State Building Commission. Since 2019, he has served on the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
As a lawmaker, Hintz was a staunch opponent of payday lenders and rent-to-own companies — a cause that united him with a handful of unlikely Republican allies including now-U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman.
Hintz is one of a dozen Assembly lawmakers who won't return to the chamber next year. Some have announced plans to run for other offices, and others have opted to step away from politics — at least for now.
Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, served as assistant minority leader with Hintz. She announced in December that she will run for the 27th Senate District seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point.
"As Gordon’s seatmate for the past five years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him bring together floor speeches that held everyone’s attention with his wit and deep knowledge of the topics at hand," Hesselbein said in a statement. "I will miss his humor on the floor and his ability to disarm even the staunchest ideological adversaries. I will miss his devotion to our caucus and his steadfast commitment to moving our state forward."
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna — who is also not seeking reelection — thanked Hintz for his service in a tweet, joking that Hintz "just couldn’t bear the thought of continuing on without" him.
In a statement, Hintz said he hasn't yet made any decisions about his future, but looks forward to "the next challenge."
"Until my term as representative is up, I plan on continuing my service to my constituents. I’m grateful to have had this amazing opportunity to serve, and appreciate the support of my family, especially my wife Liz, during my time in office," Hintz said. "I would like to thank the people of Oshkosh for their trust, and support in giving me the opportunity to represent them in the Assembly."
Hintz was most recently reelected with 54.2% of the vote in 2020. Prior to Hintz's election in 2006, the 54th Assembly District was represented by Republican former Rep. Gregg Underheim of Oshkosh.
The Cap Times Partisan Voting Index rates the district — which covers most of the city of Oshkosh — as D+3.1, which means that, on average, the district votes 3.1% more Democratic than the state of Wisconsin as a whole.