Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announces May 2024 retirement plans

Longtime public servant has been an elected leader since 1994

A man speaks against the backdrop of a night sky.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi speaks to Light the Night tribute attendees March 1, 2021, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

A longtime public official from Madison has announced his retirement.

Joe Parisi has been Dane County Executive since 2011. Before he was elected executive, he served in the state Assembly beginning in 2005. He started his career in public life as Dane County Clerk, a post he held from 1996 until he ran for the Assembly. He was considered a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, but declined to run.

In a statement and a news conference Wednesday, Parisi said he will retire from public life in May, about a year before his term in office is up in April 2025. The vacancy is expected to trigger a special election for the post in November 2024.

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Parisi, who presided over Dane County government during a time of rapid population growth, said he was looking forward to spending time with family outside the public eye. He said he is proud of work he’s done to help Dane County implement policies that will mitigate the effects of climate change, including work to make government operations carbon-neutral.

He said serving as county executive has been “one of the great honors of my life.”