Longtime Dem Secretary of State Doug La Follette, reelected in November to an unprecedented 12th term, announced he is retiring, effective today.
Gov. Tony Evers immediately appointed former Dem State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to the post. She gave up the treasurer’s office last year as she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.
La Follette, 82, first won the secretary of state’s office in 1974. He left the office for an unsuccessful run at lieutenant governor in 1978, but then returned four years later. He had been the longest serving state constitutional officer in the nation.
La Follette wrote in his resignation letter to Evers that he decided he didn’t want to spend the next 3.5 years trying to run the office without adequate resources and staffing needs. The office has been gradually stripped of its responsibilities over the last several decades and now operates out of an office in the Captiol basement.
“After decades of public service, I must now focus on my personal needs,” La Follette wrote.
Godlewski, 41, was elected treasurer in 2018 after she led the effort to defeat a GOP-written constitutional amendment that sought to eliminate the office. She officially takes office tomorrow.
Under state law, the guv has the power to fill a vacancy in the secretary of state’s office, and Godlewski will serve the remainder of La Follette’s term, which ends in January 2027.
Read the release: