Last night at Best Western PLUS Inn on the Park Hotel Rep. Robin Vos, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, Sen. Mike Ellis and Sen. Glenn Grothman sat down at the hotel’s bar and decided to hold an open caucus.
The night before the State of the State, January 24, four legislators were filmed at the Inn on the Park, chatting as they ate. Named in the accompanying article, only two of the four were visible on camera. While Senator Ellis and Representative Vos can be identified in the video, the woman with her back to the camera was harder to place. Though mentioned twice by name in the article, Senator Harsdorf denied being there that night. In a letter to the editor for the Hudson Star-Observer, she wrote:
I was not present or even in the establishment when this conversation occurred.
Full letter here.
After finding this out, a collaborative effort began to figure out who the woman in the video could be.
The Senate was in session on the 24th. She didn’t stand and speak, but when Senator Wirch spoke on the floor of the Senate, Harsdorf was visible in the background.
Proving that Harsdorf’s claims were correct did not wrap everything up. It still didn’t answer the larger question of who the woman was. As the search went on, many names came up; one was Representative Pat Strachota.
It was more difficult to show that it was her than to prove that it wasn’t Harsdorf. No pictures were readily available from that day because the Assembly wasn’t in session. The only committee meeting scheduled on the 24th was one that Strachota did not appear in.
The video came up again. Comparing it to a video of the representative taken a day later, the two instances found where the woman was talking seemed to match.
Specific points of comparison: 5:10 (the movements of her head indicate that she is speaking, though her words are unclear), 5:42 (one part is understandable – the “let you know” – and is the same voice from before). Since this wasn’t solid, it was still necessary to find an image of Strachota from some point earlier in the day, to compare to the woman in the cap.
On the 24th, there was a special “Girl Scouts” ceremony for the 100th anniversary, where all of the legislators were made “honorary members.” During one of many searches, a new picture from that day popped up. And the mystery was solved, tooth, line, and sinker.
Full video here: