Sandy Pasch

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Sandy Pasch
Sandy Pasch 2011 CROPPED.jpg
Pasch in 2011.
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 10th and 22nd district
In office
January 5, 2009 – January 5, 2015
Preceded by Sheldon Wasserman (D)
Personal details
Born (1954-05-19) May 19, 1954 (age 62)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison,
Medical College of Wisconsin,
University of Rochester
Profession Nurse

Sandy Pasch (born May 19, 1954) is an American nurse from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin who was a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, from 2009-2015.


Pasch was born Sandra Kawczynski[1] in Milwaukee on May 19, 1954. She graduated from Bay View High School in 1972; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976; a Master of Science in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing at the University of Rochester in 1981; and a Master of Arts in Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1999.[2] She worked as an assistant professor at Columbia College of Nursing; as a clinical nurse specialist; and as a community health nurse.[3]

Elective office[edit]

Pasch was elected to the assembly in 2008. After winning a four-way Democratic primary with a narrow plurality, she easily defeated Republican nominee Yash P. Wadhwa by 21,938 to 10,720. She was assigned to the standing committees on public health (serving as vice chair); on corrections and the courts; on criminal justice; on health and healthcare reform; and on housing.[4]

In 2009, Pasch's campaign records showed that she received two contributions totaling $125 on February 18, during budget negotiations. This violated a new rule, passed two weeks prior, which restricted lawmakers from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions until the state budget was voted into law.[5] According to Pasch, the date was a typo, and she did not receive any contributions after the budget negotiations began.[6]

Sandy Pasch voted to pass the 2009 Wisconsin budget.[7]

Pasch voted against censuring State Representative Jeffrey Wood after being arrested for driving while intoxicated and being in possession of THC and drug paraphernalia.[8]

Pasch voted against requiring a two-thirds majority in the legislature in order to pass legislation to increase taxes.[9]

On May 6, 2011, Pasch announced that she would be running for the Wisconsin State Senate's 8th District against incumbent Republican Alberta Darling, who was the subject of a recall election.[10] She won her primary against a "fake Democrat", Gladys Huber, with over 60% of the votes cast, but lost the August 9th general election by an 8% margin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Politifact rated claims that Sandy Pasch made regarding Paul Ryan's budget plan "Pants On Fire", which is its strongest rating for falsehoods, stating that she was "mixing false and ridiculous".[11] Politifact rated claims that Sandy Pasch made on June 14, 2011 regarding State Sen. Alberta Darling's vote on the state budget as "Mostly True", stating that Pasch's figures were accurate, but needed "clarification and additional information".[12]

Pasch serves on the board of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a group which supported Pasch in the recall election. The treasurer of her campaign also serves as treasurer of Citizen Action. In August, Republicans filed a complaint alleging possible illegal coordination between Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Pasch's senate campaign. Both Pasch and the director of Citizen Action stated that there was no coordination whatsoever between the two[13]

2012 race[edit]

After her present district was basically eliminated by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, Pasch announced that she would be moving from her home in Whitefish Bay into the Assembly district currently represented by Elizabeth Coggs (who was running for the State Senate), which had been redistricted to include portions of Pasch's old district. Amid accusations of "carpetbagging" and assertions that up to half the seats currently held by African-Americans could go to white candidates, Pasch argued that "I agree diversity is important... But what is very, very important is that there is a representative in the district who will listen, who will take action after listening, someone who will fight"; and noted she is the only Jewish member of the Assembly. She was endorsed by Tamara Grigsby.[14]

Calls by Elizabeth Coggs to the mostly-black voters at an inner-city candidate forum to "vote for someone who looks like you" led to accusations that she was attacking Pasch, the only white candidate in the race. Several African-American candidates at the forum decried her remarks as racist. None of Pasch's opponents (who included Ieshuh Griffin) had held elected office. "I don't think anyone should vote for anyone on account of their skin color," Griffin said of Coggs' remarks. "It's not about color.".[15] Coggs' predecessor, Polly Williams, describing Pasch as "a White suburban woman" who "can’t win in her own district", had already expressed concern that inner-city seats such as hers could be lost to white Democrats as a result of machinations by "non-Black forces from outside the community". Williams, like Coggs, endorsed one of Pasch's rivals.[16] The 10th district Democratic nomination (tantamount to election in this heavily-Democratic district) was nonetheless taken by Pasch, with over 60% of the vote.[17] She won the general election with ease.


In 2014, Pasch chose not to run for re-election.[18] After a hard-fought Democratic primary (no other parties fielded candidates), the nomination went to County Supervisor David Bowen, whom Pasch had endorsed.

Personal life[edit]

She is married and has three children.

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin State Senate District 8 Recall Election 2011[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Alberta Darling 39,471 54%
Democratic Sandra Pasch 34,096 46%


  1. ^ "Sandy Pasch: Key to Halting Walker Agenda?". Riverwest Currents. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  2. ^ "Pasch's official biography". 1954-05-19. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Barish, Lawrence S., ed. ''State of Wisconsin 2009 - 2010 Blue Book'' Madison: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, 2009; p. 51" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  4. ^ Barish, Lawrence S., ed. State of Wisconsin 2009 - 2010 Blue Book Madison: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, 2009; pp. 35, 920, 923
  5. ^ Seven Wis. Lawmakers Broke Campaign Finance Rules July 20, 2009. Today's TMJ4. Accessed June 6, 2011
  6. ^ "Contributions to lawmakers questioned". FOX 11 Online. Madison, Wisconsin: LIN Television Corporation. Associated Press. July 20, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ 2009-2011 Biennium Budget - AB 75 Accessed June 6, 2011
  8. ^ Censuring Representative Jeffery Wood Accessed June 6, 2011
  9. ^ Requiring a Two-Thirds Vote in the Legislature for Tax Increases - AB 5 Accessed June 6, 2011
  10. ^ Tolan, Tom. "Pasch makes it official at Whitefish Bay rally" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All Politics Blog May 6, 2011
  11. ^ Democratic Wisconsin state Rep. Sandy Pasch says GOP U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan would end health care for seniors Politifact. Accessed June 18, 2011
  12. ^ "PolitiFact Wisconsin | Wisconsin Rep. Sandy Pasch says Sen. Alberta Darling voted to add $1 billion in spending while cutting education and health care". Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  13. ^ Walker, Don GOP files complaint into Pasch-Citizen Action tie Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 1, 2011. Accessed August 3, 2011
  14. ^ Marley, Patrick and Alison Bauter of the "New legislative maps create plethora of primaries" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel July 14, 2012
  15. ^ Stephenson, Crocker. "Coggs' 'looks like you' quote starts debate; Advice to voters irritates some at candidate forum" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel July 28, 2012
  16. ^ Mitchell, Thomas E., Jr. " Williams: 'We have to fight to keep control of the seats we have'; Former legislator urges community support Black candidates during August 14 election" Milwaukee Community Journal July 20, 2012
  17. ^ CBS 58 Election Results
  18. ^ 'Sandy Pasch won't run again for Wisconsin Assembly,' Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, Jason Stein, April 4, 2014
  19. ^ "August 9 recall election results". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 

External links[edit]