Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Walker appoints Harsdorf to agriculture secretary post

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (center) was appointed Nov. 10 to become secretary of the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. File photo

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday appointed Sen. Sheila Harsdorf to be the state’s Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary — an announcement that will trigger a special election in her western Wisconsin district.

“Sheila’s experience as a highly respected, dedicated legislator and dairy farmer make her an excellent fit to lead DATCP,” Walker said in a news release.

Harsdorf’s last day as a legislator is Friday, Nov. 10. She begins in the new role on Monday.

“I am honored to serve as DATCP secretary, and I thank Gov. Walker for entrusting me to lead,” she said. “I’m excited to work with and support our farmers, businesses and consumers to promote a fair marketplace and economic growth in Wisconsin's vibrant agriculture industry.”

The announcement triggers a vacancy in Harsdorf’s 10th Senate district and a special election. Assembly Republicans Shannon Zimmerman and Adam Jarchow are among the possible GOP candidates for the seat, according to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report. No Democrats have yet emerged.

Harsdorf served 10 years in the state Assembly before being elected in 2001 to the Senate, where she has served since.

In addition to serving on the powerful Joint Finance Committee, Harsdorf sits on the Senate’s Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee. She chairs the Universities and Technical Colleges Committee and serves as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology.

Harsdorf now becomes the second person in her family to serve in the role. Her brother Jim Harsdorf served under former Gov. Scott McCallum as Wisconsin’s agriculture secretary from 2001 to 2003. He previously served in the same Senate seat that Sheila was elected to after Jim Harsdorf was appointed to the agriculture post.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
Advertisement