Chris Larson

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Chris Larson
Chris Larson 2010.jpg
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Jeffrey Plale
Personal details
Born (1980-11-12) November 12, 1980 (age 36)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jessica (Brumm-Larson)
Alma mater University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Christopher J. Larson (born November 12, 1980) is a Wisconsin politician who has represented the state's 7th Senate District since 2011. A Democrat, Larson served as the Wisconsin Senate's minority leader from 2013 until 2014. A member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors from 2008 until 2010, Larson was a candidate for Milwaukee County Executive in the April 2016 general election but was defeated by incumbent Chris Abele.

Background[edit]

Larson was born and raised in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He graduated from Thomas More High School (Milwaukee) in 1999 and earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, with a minor in political science. Before entering politics, Larson was business manager of a sporting goods store.[1]

Milwaukee County Board[edit]

In April 2008, Larson successfully ran for Milwaukee County supervisor on a platform of improving his local community by adequately investing in the area’s shared parks and transit system.[2]

He sought to restore jobs at General Mitchell Field that had been cut out of the county budget by Walker;[3] helped found the Coalition to Save the Hoan Bridge;[4][5] and authored legislation to create a community garden site at 6th & Howard Avenue, which passed on February 3, 2010; the gardens have since expanded, and still are operating as of August 2014.[6]

Wisconsin Senate[edit]

On September 14, 2010, Larson defeated incumbent Senator Jeffrey Plale in the primary election,[7] contending that Plale was far too conservative for the district.[8] Larson won by 7,962 (60.7%) to 5,148 (39.3%) for Plale.[9]

Larson subsequently defeated Republican Jesse Ripp with 57.11 percent of the vote[10] on November 2, 2010.[11]

He turned 30 the week after the election, and was the youngest member of the Senate.[12] He currently represents the cities of Cudahy, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, and St. Francis, and parts of Franklin and Milwaukee.[13]

Less than two years into Larson's first term and a day after turning 32, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as Senate Democratic Leader for the 2013-14 Legislative Session. This selection made Larson the youngest Senate leader since 1937, when Maurice Coakley was selected at age 30.[14][15][16] It was the fastest ascent to leader since Warren Knowles was selected in 1942 after also serving only two years in the Senate.[15][16][17]

In May 2014, Larson was named in the Washington Post’s list of top 40 political rising stars under 40 years old.[18] On November 11, 2014 Larson announced he would be stepping down as leader of the Wisconsin Senate Democrats.[19]

During Larson's political career, PolitiFact Wisconsin ruled on twelve of Larson's statements for accuracy. PolitiFact has ruled Larson Mostly True on one statement, Mostly False on six of his statements, False on four and Pants On Fire False on one.[20]

Legislative positions[edit]

In the 2011-2012 legislative session, funding for local public schools were cut by $1.6 billion,[21] and during the 2013-2014 session 50% of Wisconsin school districts received less state money than they did under the previous session.[22] Larson supported initiatives to fully restore funding for local public schools.[23][24]

In February 2013, Democrats introduced a package of six jobs bills, which included funding for technical colleges and required state agencies, as well as state and local governments, to buy from Wisconsin businesses.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

Larson fought to accept federal health care money through the Affordable Care Act to strengthen Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program[32][33] since, according to Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, strengthening BadgerCare would expand health care coverage to 85,000 more Wisconsinites, save the state $119 million over the biennium, and create over 10,000 Wisconsin jobs.[34][35]

Larson and his Democratic colleagues all signed on to a proposed constitutional amendment (2013 SJR 74) to reverse Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage.[36] Larson co-sponsored legislation to reinstate laws to prevent workplace discrimination against women, which had been removed from Wisconsin statutes during the 2011-12 legislative session.[37]

Larson introduced legislative proposals during the 2013-2014 Legislative Session to reform Wisconsin's jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which has seen numerous scandals since it was created in 2011, including losing track of $56 million in loans, misuse of taxpayer funds, exaggerated jobs claims, and lack of basic oversight, according to a national report by Good Jobs First.[38][39][40][41][42]

During the 2015-16 legislative session, Larson introduced numerous proposals aimed at improving public schools. For instance, Larson co-authored a proposal to implement and invest in the community schools model, which provides wraparound services for students, such as providing access to health care and a healthy diet. He introduced legislation to give schools support to provide services for students with disabilities.[43]

In early 2016, Larson and a group of environmental advocates and organizations led a fight against a bill that would have made it easier for Wisconsin water utility systems to be taken over by non-Wisconsin, for-profit companies and corporations.[44] After intense public outrage, the bill was not scheduled for a vote in the Senate and failed to become law.The lead poisoning of families in Flint Michigan galvanized opposition to water privatization in Wisconsin.[45]

2011 Wisconsin protests[edit]

During the protests in Wisconsin, Larson, along with the 13 other Democratic State Senators, left the state to deny the state Senate a quorum on Governor Scott Walker's controversial "Budget Repair" legislation. All 14 State Senators returned on March 12.[46]

Legislative committee membership[edit]

During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Larson served as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules, and as a member of the Joint Committees on Finance, Audit, and Information Policy and Technology; on the Senate Committees on Education; Education and Corrections; Natural Resources and Environment; Housing and Insurance; and Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism. He also served on the Governor's Commission on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse; and the Special Task Force on University of Wisconsin Restructuring and Operational Flexibilities.[47]

During the 2013-2014 legislative session, Larson served on the Committee on Senate Organization, the Joint Legislative Council, and the Joint Committees on Employment Relations, and on Legislative Organization.[48]

Larson is currently serving on the Committee on Education; Committee on Labor and Government Reform; and Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works, and Military Affairs.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Larson lives in Bay View with his wife, Jessica, and their two children.[49][50]

Larson is a member of numerous neighborhood groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Bay View Historical Society, Bay View Lions Club, and Arbor Day Foundation.[51]

Brushes with the law[edit]

When Larson was a 19 year-old freshman at UWM, he was arrested for shoplifting from a supermarket and received a $331 municipal citation, which was later dropped after Larson took a court-ordered class.[52]

Four years later, he was illegally parked in a tow-away zone on Milwaukee's east side. When a tow truck arrived and the driver attached Larson’s car to it. Larson sprinted out of a nearby house, “yelling and screaming” wildly at the driver. When that driver refused to release his car, Larson climbed inside and then “rode along all the way to the tow yard” while beeping “the car horn continuously.” Once they arrived, he refused to get out of his car until lot employees called police. He was cited for disorderly conduct, but that ticket was eventually dropped.[53][54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wisconsin State Blue Book 2013-2014 (PDF). Madison, WI: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. 2013. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-9752820-6-9. 
  2. ^ "Wisconsin 7th State Senate District Q & A". Bay View Compass. August 30, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Milwaukee’s Aerotropolis project moves forward". BizTimes.com. October 1, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "South Side coalition seeks to save the Hoan Bridge". OnMilwaukee.com. August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  5. ^ Rovito, Rich (July 29, 2010). "County Board vote will restore airport maintenance positions". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Special Meeting on the Committee of the Parks, Energy and Environment" (PDF). Milwaukee County Web Site. Committee of the Parks, Energy and Environment. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ Stein, Jason. "Larson unseats Plale in state Senate race: He will face Republican Ripp in general election in 7th District", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 14, 2010.
  8. ^ Fortis, Louis and Lisa Kaiser. "And the Candidates Are…: A preview of the September primary matchups", Shepherd Express, July 21, 2010.
  9. ^ "Fall 2010 primary election results", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 14, 2010.
  10. ^ Maichle, Kyle (August 2, 2013). "Highlighting the 2014 State Senate Contests". Wisconsin Election Watch. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  11. ^ Stein, Jason and Annysa Johnson. "Republicans take over state Senate, Assembly: It's first time one party wins both houses since 1938", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Tolan, Tom. "Larson wins 7th Senate District race", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 2, 2010.
  13. ^ "State of Wisconsin Senate District 7 Act 43" (PDF). Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  14. ^ The 1935 Wisconsin Blue Book. Madison, Wisconsin: Democratic Printing Company. 1935. pp. 195, 261. 
  15. ^ a b The 1927 Wisconsin Blue Book. Madison, Wisconsin: The State Printing Board. 1927. p. 654. 
  16. ^ a b State of Wisconsin Blue Book (PDF). Madison, WI: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. 2013. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-975-2820-6-9. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Inducts Warren P. Knowles" (PDF). Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  18. ^ Blake, Aaron (May 20, 2014). "The Fix's 40 Under 40". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  19. ^ Jason, Stein. "Chris Larson to step down as leader of Wisconsin Senate Democrats". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Chris Larson's file". PolitiFact. Retrieved February 25, 2017. 
  21. ^ DeFour, Matthew (January 27, 2013). "Cash-strapped Wisconsin school districts brace for Walker's second budget proposal". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ "13-14 July 1 Estimate vs. 12-13 Final Aid Eligibility" (PDF). State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's Web Site. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Senate Amendment 2 to 2011 Assembly Bill 40". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Senate Amendment 9 to Assembly Bill 40". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  25. ^ Sexton, Riley (September 26, 2013). "Walker announces $100M workforce development plan". The Badger Herald. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  26. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 42". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  27. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 43". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  28. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 44". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  29. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 74". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  30. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 25". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  31. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 88". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Senate Amendment 10 to Assembly Bill 40". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Senate Substitute Amendment 1 to 2013 Assembly Bill 1". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  34. ^ Wahlberg, David (May 29, 2013). "Full Medicaid expansion would save money and cover more, fiscal bureau says". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  35. ^ Tighe, Mike (February 5, 2013). "Area lawmakers implore Walker to expand BadgerCare". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  36. ^ "2013 Senate Joint Resolution 74". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  37. ^ "2013 Senate Bill 143". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  38. ^ Stein, Jason (November 30, 2012). "Neglected WEDC taxpayer-financed loans grow to $12.2 million". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  39. ^ Ivey, Mike (October 24, 2013). "WEDC cited in national report on how not to spend taxpayer dollars on economic development". The Cap Times. 
  40. ^ "Senate Amendment 6 to Senate Bill 205". Wisconsin State Legislature. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Senate Amendment 7 to Senate Bill 205". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Senate Amendment 8 to Senate Bill 205". Wisconsin State Legislature Web Site. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  43. ^ a b "Wisconsin State Legislature Website". Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  44. ^ Vernburg, Steven. "Bill to ease sales of water supplies into private hands sparks clash". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  45. ^ "From Flint to Madison: Our Water is Under Attack". Overpass Light Brigade. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Democratic senators return to Madison to tell crowd fight isn't over". archive.jsonline.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  47. ^ State of Wisconsin Blue Book (PDF). Madison, WI: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. 2013. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-975-2820-6-9. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  48. ^ State of Wisconsin Blue Book (PDF). Madison, WI: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. 2015. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-975-2820-6-9. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Chris Larson - It's a girl!". Facebook.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  50. ^ "In politics marathon, Larson likes the underdog role". Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  51. ^ State of Wisconsin Blue Book (PDF). Madison, WI: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. 2013. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-975-2820-6-9. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  52. ^ "Candidate's old shoplifting bust surfaces". jsonline.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  53. ^ "Murphy's Law: The Rise of Chris Larson". urbanmilwaukee.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  54. ^ "Chris Larson is Unfit to Lead Milwaukee County". Newstalk1130.iheart.com. 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2017-02-27.