Sheila Harsdorf

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Sheila Harsdorf
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 10th district
In office
Preceded by Alice Clausing
Succeeded by Vacant
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 30th district
In office
Preceded by William Berndt
Succeeded by Kitty Rhoades
Personal details
Born (1956-07-25) July 25, 1956 (age 61)
Stillwater, Minnesota
Political party Republican
Children 1
Residence River Falls, Wisconsin
Profession dairy farmer, legislator

Sheila Harsdorf (born July 25, 1956) is a former Republican member of the Wisconsin Senate, representing the 10th District from 2001 to 2017. She previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly, representing District 30 from 1989 to 1999.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Harsdorf was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1956 and her family moved to River Falls, Wisconsin in 1970. Harsdorf graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1978 with a B.S. in Animal Science, and returned to River Falls to become a loan officer for the Production Credit Association while farming part-time on the Harsdorf family dairy farm. Two years later, she and her older brother, Jim, became partners in the family business.

While farming full-time, Harsdorf was a member of the Pierce County Farm Bureau Board of Directors from 1982 to 1988, serving as treasurer for three years. She also served as chair of the Pierce County Dairy Promotion Committee in 1986. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Pierce-Pepin Holstein Breeders Association, was a graduate of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program, and was involved in Pierce County 4-H as a member of the Dairy Committee and a coach of the Dairy Judging Team.

Wisconsin legislature[edit]

State Assembly[edit]

In 1988, Harsdorf ran for and won the seat of the 30th Assembly District in the Wisconsin State Assembly. She won a total of five consecutive elections, finishing her last term in 1999.

During Harsdorf’s time in the State Assembly, she served on the Assembly committees on Natural Resources, on Veterans and Military Affairs, and on Agriculture, and was the ranking Republican on the Colleges and Universities Committee. She also served on the Legislative Advisory Committee on the Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission and on the Legislative Council Special Committee on Land Use. In 1995, she was appointed to the prestigious Joint Finance Committee, a 16-member committee responsible for drafting the state’s biennial budget.[1][2]

State Senate[edit]

In 2000, Harsdorf entered the 10th State Senate District race against Democratic Senator Alice Clausing, a two-term incumbent. The 10th Senate District comprises all of St. Croix County and portions of Burnett, Dunn, Pierce and Polk counties in the northwestern part of the state.[3] She defeated Clausing and independent candidate Jim Nelson in the general election. She was re-elected in 2004, defeating challenger Gary Bakke, and 2008, defeating challenger Alison Page.[4]

Harsdorf is currently chair of the Senate Committee on State and Federal Relations and Information Technology and vice chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education. She also serves as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology, and as a member of the Joint Committee on Finance. She has previously served as chair of the Higher Education and Tourism Committee, as the ranking Republican on the Agriculture and Higher Education Committee, and as a member of the Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail Committee and the Joint Legislative Council. She is also a member of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission.[1][5]

Personal life[edit]

In her hometown of River Falls, Harsdorf is a member of Luther Memorial Church. Harsdorf is a past member of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust Board and the Wisconsin Conservation Corps Board. She is also a former president of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation Sponsor’s Board.[1][2]

Recall effort[edit]

Harsdorf was subject to a recall effort as part of the 2011 Wisconsin protests. Recall organizers filed an estimated 23,000 signatures with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board,[6] which verified the petitions and overruled challenges by Harsdorf. The recall election was set for August 9, 2011.[7] Teacher and educators' union official Shelly Moore ran against Harsdorf in the recall election.[8] Harsdorf defeated Moore, 58 percent to 42 percent in the recall election.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin State Senate District 10 Election 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Sheila Harsdorf 50
Democratic Alice Clausing (D/inc.) 47
Independent Jim Nelson 3
Wisconsin State Senate District 10 Election 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Sheila Harsdorf 59
Democratic Gary L. Baake 41
Wisconsin State Senate District 10 Election 2008[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Sheila Harsdorf 55,816 56.40%
Democratic Alison H. Page 43,041 43.49%
Scattering 110 .11%
Wisconsin State Senate District 10 Recall Election 2011[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Sheila Harsdorf 37,099 58%
Democratic Shelly Moore 27,250 42%

Source: Wisconsin Bluebook


  1. ^ a b c "Sheila Harsdorf: State Selator". Sheila Harsdorf. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Senator Sheila Harsdorf". Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Senate District 10" (PDF). Wisconsin State Legislature. May 30, 2002. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Fall General Election – 11/04/2008; State Senate, District No. 10" (PDF). Wisconsin State Elections Board. November 24, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ "2011 - 2012 Committee Assignments". Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Committee to Recall Harsdorf". Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. March 9, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Government Accountability Board Calendar." Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
  8. ^ Tolan, Tom (May 3, 2011). "Teacher from River Falls announces run against Harsdorf". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Barbour, Clay and Mary Spicuzza. Republicans hold off Dems in recalls, win enough seats to keep majority in Senate, Wisconsin State Journal, August 10, 2011.
  10. ^ "August 9 recall election results". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 

External links[edit]