Jennifer Shilling

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Jennifer Shilling
Minority Leader of the Wisconsin Senate
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Preceded by Chris Larson
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 32nd district
Assumed office
August 25, 2011
Preceded by Dan Kapanke
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 95th district
In office
Preceded by Mark Meyer
Succeeded by Jill Billings
Personal details
Born Jennifer Ehlenfeldt
(1969-07-04) July 4, 1969 (age 49)
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Chris Shilling
Education University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (BA)

Jennifer Shilling (née Ehlenfeldt; born July 4, 1969) is a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate first elected to represent the 32nd District in 2011 from La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 2014, she was elected Senate Minority Leader by fellow Democrats.[1]


Jennifer Ehlenfeldt was born on July 4, 1969, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt. She graduated from Buffalo Grove High School in Illinois. She served as a La Crosse County Supervisor from 1990 to 1992,[2] and earned a joint B.A. in political science and public administration at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, graduating in 1992. Prior to being elected to the State Assembly, she worked as a legislative aide for Democratic United States Representative Ron Kind and later for State Representative Mark Meyer.

During her first week of work as an aide for Meyer, on January 8, 1993, Shilling's parents and five employees were murdered at the family's restaurant in Palatine, Illinois, during a robbery-murder now known as the Brown's Chicken massacre. Both of Shilling's younger sisters were also scheduled to be at the restaurant that night, but happened not to be present at the time of the killing.[3]

State Assembly[edit]

In 2000, Ehlenfeldt was elected to succeed her boss, Mark Meyer, in the 95th Assembly District (Meyer was making a successful bid for the State Senate). She won her primary election with ease and won the general election with 13,789 votes to 11,530 for Republican nominee Deb Suchla. Subsequent to the November election, she married and changed her name to Jennifer Shilling. She was assigned to the Assembly's standing committees on financial institutions, health, insurance and personal privacy, as well as the Legislative Advisory Committee to the Wisconsin-Minnesota Boundary Commission.[4]

In the meantime, Shilling graduated from the Bowhay Institute on Legislative Leadership Development and the Citizen's Police Academy in La Crosse. In addition, she was also a member of the Wisconsin Technology Council Board of Directors.[5] In 2001, she was selected to participate in the American Council of Young Political Leaders delegation to the Philippines, and in 2002 was the commencement speaker for graduation ceremonies at UW–La Crosse.[6]

Re-elected in 2002, she remained on the financial institutions, health and insurance committees, and was also assigned to the committees on colleges and universities, and on highway safety.[7] In 2008, running unopposed, Shilling won 97% of the vote.[8]

State Senate[edit]

On April 9, 2011, Shilling formally announced her intention to run in the Senate recall election against Republican Dan Kapanke.[9] That summer, she defeated him in the recall election winning 55% of the vote, and took office August 26, 2011.[10]

In March 2012, Bill Feehan, a La Crosse businessman and county board supervisor, announced that he would run against Shilling in the 2012 general election.[11] In the newly redistricted district, Shilling took over 58% of the vote, with 51,091 votes to Feehan's 36,527.[12]

In 2014, Shilling was elected Senate Minority Leader by fellow Democrats.[13] Her top priorities include increasing spending on education, both at the K-12 and college level.[14]

Shilling was reelected in the November 2016 election.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Jennifer Shilling for State Senate". Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  3. ^ Jungen, Anne. "Shilling to share story of survival after parents killed" La Crosse Tribune January 31, 2011
  4. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. "State of Wisconsin 2001-2002 Blue Book Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, Wisconsin Legislature, 2001. pp. 85, 928, 931
  5. ^ "Representative Jennifer Shilling". Retrieved 2011-07-13. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Representative Jennifer Shilling". Archived from the original on 2008-10-26. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  7. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. "State of Wisconsin 2003-2004 Blue Book Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, Wisconsin Legislature, 2003; pp. 83, 924
  8. ^ La Crosse County Clerk. Official Canvass La Crosse County Wisconsin November 4 2008 General Election.
  9. ^ Geri Parlin (2011-04-11). "Shilling: We need leaders to stand up to the governor". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  10. ^ Associated Press. "Wis. Dems to Take Oaths of Office Next Week" KSTP-TV, August 18, 2011
  11. ^ Hubbuch, Chris. "La Crosse County GOP head announces state Senate run". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ Wisconsin Vote (2013-10-01). ""State Senate District 32 - General"; November 7, 2012". Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  13. ^
  14. ^

External links[edit]