Wisconsin Senate, District 17
|Type||District of the Upper House|
|Senator||Dale Schultz (R)|
|Parent organization||Wisconsin Legislature|
The 17th District of the Wisconsin Senate is located in south-western Wisconsin, and is currently composed of all of Grant, Lafayette, Juneau, and Richland counties, and parts of Iowa, Sauk, Green, Monroe, and Vernon counties (based on 2011 Wisconsin Act 43).
Current elected officials
Dale Schultz is the senator serving the 17th district. He was elected to the senate in a special election in September 1991, and has been re-elected ever since. Before serving as a senator, he held an office in the State Assembly from 1982 to 1991. Senator Schultz is retiring after the 2014 session.
The 2014 campaign to replace Dale Schultz features Ernie Wittwer, a Democrat from the Richland Center area, who worked at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in executive level positions for 24 years before retiring according to www.wittwerforsenate.com and his campaign literature. Other candidates for this office include Pat Bomhack and Howard Marklein.
Ernie Wittwer and Pat Bomhack will face off in a primary on the Democratic ballot on Tuesday August 12, 2014. Tea Party Republican Howard Marklein announced he would challenged Dale Schultz to a primary, after Senator Schultz made several "No" votes to block legislation in 2012 and 2013 on changes to collective bargaining and a bill to relax mining regulation. By voting for the interest of the district, over the interest of the Republican party, Senator Schultz's reputation as an independent voice in the senate grew, as did his opposition from the tea party. Senator Schultz announced his plan to retire after being challenged to a primary contest by conservative Howard Marklein. Marklein is much further to the right than Schultz.
Senator Schultz has been highly critical of the Republican Party since announcing his retirement plans. On the Devil's Advocates Radio Show in early March 2014, Sen. Schultz stated, "I am not willing to defend them anymore," in regards to the Republican Party of Wisconsin's effort to force voters to present an ID at the polls.
- The 49th (represented by Travis Tranel)
- The 50th (represented by Edward Brooks)
- The 51st (represented by Howard Marklein)
The district is also located partly within Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district, which is represented by U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, and partly within Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district, which is represented by U.S. Representative Ron Kind.
The boundaries of districts have changed over history. Previous politicians of a specific numbered district have represented different geographic areas, due to redistricting.
At statehood, the district was one of two for Racine County. It was represented by:
- Philo White, 1848 (Democrat)
- Victor Willard, 1849-1850 (Free Soiler)
- Stephen O. Bennett, 1851-1852 (Free Soiler)
For the 1853 session, the Senate had been expanded, and the 17th District was now Rock County. It was represented by:
- Ezra Miller (legislator), 1853-1854 (Democrat)
- James Sutherland, 1855-1858 (Republican)
- Zebulon P. Burdick, 1859-1860 (Republican)
- Ezra Foot, 1861-1862 (Republican)
- William A. Lawrence, 1863-1866 (Republican/Union)
- S. J. Todd, 1867-1868 (Union)
- Charles G. Williams, 1869-1872 (Republican)
- Horatio Davis, 1873-1876 (Republican)
- Hamilton Richardson, 1877-1882 (Republican)
- Simon Lord, 1883-1886 (Republican)
- Allen P. Lovejoy, 1887-1890 (Republican)
The Senate was redistricted after the 1890 census, and the new 17th District included (part of Rock County (the Towns of Avon, Beloit, Clinton, Newark, Plymouth, Spring Valley, and Turtle, Wisconsin; the Village of Clinton, Wisconsin, and the City of Beloit), and all of Green and Lafayette counties).
The Senate was re-districted anew in 1901; the new 17th still included all of Green and Lafayette counties, plus Iowa County; but none of Rock. The new 17th was represented by:
- Richard Burdge, 1891-1894 (Republican)
- Henry Putnam, 1895-1898 (Republican)
- Harry C. Martin, 1899-1914 (Republican)
The Senate was re-districted again in 1901; the new 17th still included all of Green and Lafayette counties, plus Iowa County; but none of Rock. Harry Martin continued to serve the new 17th through 1914. He was succeeded by:
- Platt Whitman, 1915-1918 (Republican)
- Oscar R. Olson, 1919-1922 (Republican)
- Olaf H. Johnson, 1923-1926 (Republican)
- Charles Hutchison, 1927-1930 (Republican)
- William Olson, 1931-1932 (Republican)
- George Engebretson, 1933-1938 (Republican)
- Carl Lovelace, 1939-1942 (Republican)
- Melvin Olson, 1943–1954 (Republican)
In 1954, the Senate was redistricted, and Grant County was added to the district. The Senators from the new 17th were:
After the 1960 census, the districts were revised, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court intervened; on May 14, 1964, they promulgated a new legislative map. The new 17th added Richland County; but Roseleip remained in office.
In April 1972, the Senate was redistricted, and new 17th regained five Rock County townships (and the cities within their boundaries) which had been part of the district in the 1890s: Avon, Magnolia, Newark, Plymouth and Spring Valley; plus Dane County's Black Earth and Mazomanie. This new 17th elected:
- Kathryn Morrison, 1975-1978 (first Democrat from the 17th since 1854)
- Richard Kreul, 1979–1990 Republican)
Before the 1982 election, a redistricting cost the 17th portions of Grant, Green and Richland counties, while adding a bit more of Rock County and for the first time a tier of southern Sauk County from Spring Green to Sauk City. Richard Kreul remained in office until he resigned in July 1991 to take a position in the Thompson administration; Dale Schultz was elected to fill his position. New district boundaries were ordered by a federal court in June 1992; the new 17th district reached further north, with more of Sauk County and a big chunk of Juneau County, while losing all of Dane, Green and Rock counties. The 2011 redistricting added back a bit of Green County, extended westward into Monroe County for the first time, and lost parts of Sauk and Iowa Counties.
- Wisconsin Blue Book, 2011-12 edition, page 52. ISBN 978-0-9752820-1-4.
- Wisconsin Blue Book, 2011-12 edition, page 17. ISBN 978-0-9752820-1-4.
- Heg, J. E., ed. The Blue Book of the State of Wisconsin 1883 Madison, 1883; pp. 177-253
- Wisconsin Blue Book, 1991-92 edition, Statistics: History, pages 657-666.