Leah Vukmir

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Leah Vukmir
State Sen. Leah Vukmir speaks at the Racine Tea Party event on Jan. 13, 2013. (8379730772).jpg
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 5th district
Assumed office
January 2011
Preceded by Jim Sullivan
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 14th district
In office
November 2002 – January 2011
Preceded by Scott Walker
Succeeded by Dale Kooyenga
Personal details
Born Leah Papachristou
(1958-04-26) April 26, 1958 (age 60)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) George Vukmir
Children 2
Education Marquette University (BSN)
University of Wisconsin–Madison (MSN)
Website Official website

Leah Vukmir (née Papachristou; born April 26, 1958) is a nurse and member of the Wisconsin Senate, representing the 5th District. She previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly.[1] Vukmir is the Republican candidate in the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Wisconsin.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Vukmir was born Leah Papachristou in Milwaukee, the daughter of immigrants from Greece.[2] She graduated from Brookfield East High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 1976.[3][4] She later received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Marquette University in 1980, and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983 where she specialized in child development and primary care treatment of children. She is a registered nurse and nationally certified pediatric nurse practitioner with over 25 years of nursing and teaching experience at St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.[5] She attends Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa.[6]

Wisconsin legislature[edit]

Vukmir speaking at a "Women for Romney" rally at Marquette University on September 20, 2012

Vukmir was first elected in November 2002, succeeding Scott Walker (R), who was elected in a special election as Milwaukee County Executive. She was the ranking member of the Assembly’s Committee on Health and Health Care Reform. She was also a member of the committees on Public Health, Education Reform, Education and Criminal Justice.[7]

Vukmir announced on June 25, 2009, that she was challenging incumbent Democratic State Senator Jim Sullivan for the 5th district seat in 2010.[8] The race attracted large amounts of out-of-state campaign contributions, with 7% of Sullivan's donors and 14% of Vukmir's donors being residents of Wauwatosa.[9] On November 2, 2010, Vukmir defeated Sullivan for reelection.[10] She was succeeded in her Assembly seat by fellow Republican Dale Kooyenga.

Vukmir opposes medical marijuana and has said that there is no medical reason to use it.[11] At a public hearing in 2009, she was booed after accusing fellow legislators Jon Erpenbach and Mark Pocan of using dying cancer patients to further a secret agenda of legalization.[12]

Vukmir is on the Board of Directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),[13] a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States. In June 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy sued Vukmir, contending she had violated Wisconsin's open records law by not turning over records related to her involvement with ALEC. Vukmir responded by claiming she could not be sued while in office.[14] The lawsuit was settled in 2014, with the state of Wisconsin agreeing to pay $15,000 and Vukmir turning over e-mails from her personal Yahoo! account that she said she had withheld due to technical issues.[15]

In December 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice released a report criticizing a secret state investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. During the course of the investigation, the state had seized the personal emails of 35 Republican lawmakers, including Vukmir. Included among the emails was correspondence between Vukmir and her daughter that included private medical information. Some of the emails were placed into a folder on state computers marked "opposition research." Vukmir wrote an opinion editorial in the Wall Street Journal criticizing the investigation, which she said was politically motivated. She called the investigation "un-American" and said she would "exhaust all options — both legal and legislative — for recourse here."[16][17][18]

2018 United States Senate election[edit]

On September 7, 2017, Vukmir announced that she would seek the 2018 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.[19]

During the primary campaign, Vukmir ran ads in which she attempted to link Baldwin with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11 attacks, calling them "Team Terrorists". PolitiFact rated the claims as "Pants on Fire" wrong.[20]

On May 12, 2018, Vukmir secured the endorsement of the Wisconsin Republican Party at the state convention with 73 percent of the vote, besting former Marine Kevin Nicholson. Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus praised Vukmir's proven track record of advancing a conservative agenda. [21]

Vukmir won the primary election, held on August 14, 2018 and will face Democratic incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin in the general election on November 6, 2018.

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin 5th Senate District election 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Leah Vukmir 55,869 73.6 +21.45
Libertarian Wendy Friedrich 20,020 26.4
Wisconsin 5th Senate District election 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Leah Vukmir 36,852 52.15
Democratic Jim Sullivan (incumbent) 33,702 47.69
Republican U.S. Senate Primary Election, 2018[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Leah Vukmir 217,023 48.9%
Republican Kevin Nicholson 190,840 43.0%
Republican George Lucia 18,803 4.2%
Republican Griffin Jones 8,764 2.0%
Republican Charles Barman 7,937 1.8%
Total votes 443,367 100%

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2009-2010 Blue Book. Madison: Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2009, p. 29.
  2. ^ About Leah Vukmir
  3. ^ "Alumni Spotlight - Leah (Papachristou) Vukmir". Elmbrook Schools. Retrieved June 9, 2018. 
  4. ^ "Senator Leah Vukmir". Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved June 9, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Official website". LeahVukmir.com. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Protect Life - Leah Vukmir". Leah Vukmir. Retrieved 2018-08-15. 
  7. ^ "2017 Wisconsin State Representatives". www.legis.state.wi.us. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  8. ^ Wispolitics Vukmir Announces Run
  9. ^ Maley, Mark (August 25, 2010). "Vukmir, Sullivan getting cash from everywhere". Wauwautosa Now. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  11. ^ "Sides square off in state Legislature over medical marijuana". Winona Daily News. December 15, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Wisconsin politician accuses medical marijuana supporters of secret agenda". Duluth News Tribune. December 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Board of Directors". American Legislative Exchange Council. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  14. ^ Marley, Patrick; Jason Stein (September 12, 2013). "Sen. Leah Vukmir tries to sidestep open records suit". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  15. ^ Stein, Jason (March 28, 2014). "State to pay $15,000 in settlement of suit against Vukmir". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  16. ^ Marley, Patrick; Stein, Jason (December 7, 2017). "John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker gathered millions of pages of records from Republicans". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  17. ^ Pasque, Lisa Speckhard (December 10, 2017). "State Sen Leah Vukmir is 'certain' the collection of her private messages was 'politically motivated'". Capital Times. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  18. ^ Vukmir, Leah (December 10, 2017). "An Attack on My Privacy in Wisconsin's Political War". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  19. ^ Glabuer, Bill (September 7, 2017). "Leah Vukmir enters Republican U.S. Senate race in bid to unseat Democrat Tammy Baldwin". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  20. ^ Kertscher, Tom (May 18, 2018). "Pants on Fire for attack that, without evidence, links U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin with 9/11 mastermind". politifact.com. 
  21. ^ Bauer, Scott (May 12, 2018). "Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate Vukmir Wins Party Endorsement". US News. 
  22. ^ "Election results: Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area fall primary election". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 15, 2018. 

External links[edit]

Wisconsin State Assembly
Preceded by
Scott Walker
Member of the Wisconsin Assembly
from the 14th district

2002–2011
Succeeded by
Dale Kooyenga
Wisconsin State Senate
Preceded by
Jim Sullivan
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 5th district

2011–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tommy Thompson
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
(Class 1)

2018
Most recent