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2 Republican State Lawmakers Resign To Work For Walker

Walker Spokesman Says No Special Election Is Planned

Wisconsin state Capitol
Photo Phiend (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

State Sen. Frank Lasee of De Pere, and Assembly Rep. Keith Ripp of Lodi, have both announced their departure from the Legislature.

The two Republicans are leaving to take jobs with Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.

Lasee will become the administrator for the Department of Workforce Development Worker’s Compensation Division. Ripp will move to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to serve as assistant deputy secretary, the agency’s number three position.

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Ripp was elected into the Assembly’s 42nd District in 2008.

Lasee was first elected to the Assembly in 1994, serving until 2006. He was elected to the 1st Senate District in 2010 and served as the majority caucus chair in 2013.

According to Walker’s spokesperson Tom Evenson, no special elections are planned. The two vacant seats will instead be filled during the November 2018 election.

Marian Krumberger chairs the Brown County Republican Party, which includes much of Lasee’s district in northeastern Wisconsin. She praised his tenure as a staunch conservative, listing his accomplishments.

“The taxpayer bill of rights. He was also town chairman of the Town of Ledgeview. A lot of his work was with tax reform. He was a great conservative,” she said.

Krumberger believes the 1st Senate District is safe in Republican hands. The GOP has an 18-13 majority in the Senate, with two vacancies. In the Assembly, Republicans enjoy a 63-35 majority with one seat unfilled.

Krumberger said of Lasee’s leaving, “This is something that has been in the works for awhile.” She added, “I’m not saying we’re surprised. We’re sorry to see him leaving but we wish him well.”

With Ripp and Lasee’s departure, there are a total of five open seats in the Legislature. Three of them will be filled in a special election on Jan. 16, two will remain open until November 2018 even though the Legislature will be in session this spring.