|75th Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly|
|Assumed office |
January 7, 2013
|Preceded by||Jeff Fitzgerald|
|Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly|
from the 63rd district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Bonnie Ladwig|
|Member of the Racine County|
Board of Supervisors
|Born||July 5, 1968|
Burlington, Wisconsin, U.S.
(m.2000; div. 2003)
(m. 2008; div. 2017)
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (BA)|
Robin J. Vos (born July 5, 1968) is an American Republican politician and the 75th Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly. He has been a member of the Assembly since 2005, representing Racine County, and has been Speaker since 2013.
Vos attended the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where he studied political science and public relations. While at Whitewater, he roomed with Reince Priebus, who later became Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and the 27th White House Chief of Staff. In 1989, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson appointed Vos as a student representative on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. Vos graduated in 1991.
In 1994, Vos was elected to the Racine County Board of Supervisors. He remained on the board for the next 10 years. After the election, Vos was hired as district director for the new 1st Congressional District Representative Mark Neumann.
In 2004, Vos announced his candidacy for Wisconsin State Assembly, to succeed his former boss Bonnie Ladwig in the 63rd district. He was unopposed in the 2004 primary and general elections.
After Republicans won full control of government in Wisconsin in 2010, Vos rose to prominence pushing the controversial budget restructuring act alongside Governor Scott Walker. The bill was an attack on collective bargaining rights and public education in Wisconsin, and led to massive protests around the state, culminating in the 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election.
Vos is the President-Elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization for legislators and staff, and the Second Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation.
Vos is the chairman of the Committee on Assembly Organization and Committee on Employment Relations. He is vice chair of the Committee on Rules and co-chair of the Committee on Legislative Organization.
In 2017, Vos received about $13,000 in travel and represented the state of Wisconsin on exchanges with bipartisan groups including National Conference of State Legislatures, of which he was the president-elect. He said he was certain he had followed ethics rules with his travel.
After Democratic nominee Tony Evers won the 2018 Wisconsin gubernatorial election, defeating incumbent Republican governor Scott Walker, Vos was the first public official to propose curbing the incoming governor's powers. He claimed it was to restore a balance of power between the governor and the legislature, despite having previously voted to expand gubernatorial power. Vos also said the changes were intended to lock in laws passed by Republicans and to prevent the incoming Democratic administration from fulfilling its campaign pledges.
Christopher Beem of the McCourtney Institute of Democracy at Pennsylvania State University described Wisconsin Republicans' power grab as a "deeply undemocratic act." While it could be legal, Beem said, it erodes democratic norms: "Wisconsin’s GOP lawmakers are using power that the majority of the electorate has just taken away from them in order to make it more difficult for the incoming administration to undertake actions that the majority has just shown that it wants." Citing research by Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, Beem noted that "democracy most often dies one little piece at a time. And the more lines are crossed, the more norms are spurned, the more perilous our situation becomes."
In February 2019, Vos defended Brian Hagedorn, a judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, amid reports that Hagedorn had founded a school in 2016 that allowed for the expulsion of students and faculty if they were gay. Vos said he believed Hagedorn could rule fairly on LGBT issues.
In 2000, Vos married Amy Kuemmel, a financial analyst. They separated less than two years later and divorced in 2003.
In 2012, Vos began an affair with fellow assemblymember Michelle Litjens of Neenah. He separated from his wife and paid her $250,000 not to mention the marital trouble until after the 2012 election. They divorced in 2017.
- Profile, legis.wisconsin.gov; accessed November 15, 2014.
- Wisconsin Blue Book 2011-2012, Biographical sketch of Robin Vos, p. 61.
- "Robin Vos Timeline". Wisconsin State Journal. 2018-12-22. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
- "Robin Vos - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2017-10-26.
- "Robin Vos, the man amidst the controversy", journaltimes.com; accessed November 15, 2014.
- "Robin J. Vos".
- "National Conference of State Legislatures".
- "State Legislative Leaders Foundation".
- Nikolina Lazic, "Federal Court Strikes Down WI's 'Discriminatory' Voter ID as Unconstitutional", progressive.org, April 30, 2014; accessed November 15, 2014.
- Sommerhauser, Mark (March 25, 2016). "Robin Vos endorses Ted Cruz". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
- Patrick Marley. "Assembly Speaker Robin Vos received $57,000 in travel and other perks since 2014". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 3, 2018.
- Julie Carr Smyth. Robin Vos among GOP leaders who made trip with lobbyists and controversial lawmaker". Wisconsin State Journal, April 18, 2018.
- Jason Stein and Patrick Marley. "Speaker Robin Vos took free trip to London with lobbyists and leaders from other states". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 12, 2018.
- "What The Wisconsin Political Power Play Means For American Democracy". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
- BAUER, TODD RICHMOND and SCOTT. "Vos open to looking at ways to limit Evers' powers". Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- Press, Associated. "Vos open to limiting power of Evers as governor". Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- Berman, Russell (2018-12-05). "'Wisconsin Has Never Seen Anything Like This'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
- Beem, Christopher. "Wisconsin GOP's power grab is a danger to democracy". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
- "Realtors revoke endorsement of Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn over school's policy on gay students". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
- Wisconsin Assembly - Representative Robin J. Vos official government website
- [http://www.ncsl.org/aboutus/executive-committee/officers.aspx/National Conference of State Legislatures website
- Vos for Assembly official political website
- RoJo's Popcorn Family business website
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