State Sen. Shilling Just Resigned Effective Immediately
(Photo courtesy Shilling campaign website)

Former leader of Senate Democrats says she is resigning to explore another career opportunity.

Less than a month after announcing she would not seek reelection and was stepping down from her position as State Senate minority leader, Sen. Jennifer Shilling announced Friday she was resigning from office, effective immediately. 

The Democratic lawmaker from La Crosse said she was resigning to take another career opportunity. Current state law requires lawmakers and other public officials to resign their seat early if a potential employment opportunity could present a conflict of interest with state government activities.

“While I wish I could finish out my term and continue representing the residents and communities in the 32nd Senate District, I understand the clear boundaries set by state law that will require me to vacate my position in the State Senate earlier than anticipated,” said Shilling in a statement. 

Shilling served for nearly 20 years in the Legislature. She said she felt the “time is right for me to close this chapter and take on new challenges.”

Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Mason, was named minority leader after Shilling stepped down from the leadership post April 24.

“I want to thank @senshilling for her 20 years of public service and leading our caucus with passion, dedication and grace,” tweeted Bewley. “I know she will enjoy having more time to spend with her family and I look forward to seeing what she will do next. Onward, Upward and Forward, Jen!”

Brad Pfaff, a former member of Gov. Tony Ever’s cabinet, is running to replace Shilling. The GOP-controlled Legislature rejected Pfaff’s appointment as secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection after Pfaff was critical of the length of time it was taking lawmakers to allocate $200,000 in funding for mental health services for state farmers. 

Legislative staff will continue to serve residents of the 32nd Senate District through the end of the year. Individuals who have legislative questions or who need assistance accessing state services can contact sen.district23@legis.wisconsin.gov  or call 608-266-5490.