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DA candidate has local roots

Forseth running as a Democrat

By Robert Cloud

The Democratic candidate for district attorney grew up in Waupaca and has been active in the community since graduating from law school.

When Robert Forseth learned Waupaca County District Attorney John Snider did not file his papers for re-election by the Wednesday, June 1 deadline, he and his family began collecting the 200-400 signatures needed to enter the race.

By the following Monday, Forseth presented nearly 600 signatures to the state Government Accountability Board in Madison.

The GAB approved 400 of the signatures because that was the maximum it needed.

“The district attorney is elected, not appointed,” Forseth said. “It’s a political position, so there’s an amount of charisma that has to be there in addition to competence with the law.”

Forseth said he believes the district attorney is the voice for the entire office and has to take responsibility for everything that happens.

He noted that the district attorney is responsible for responding to media questions, as well as any public concerns about the prosecution of particular cases.

A 2001 graduate of Waupaca High School, Forseth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2008 with majors in political science and social science.

In 2011, Forseth graduated from Thomas Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with an emphasis on constitutional law.

During his last semester in law school, Forseth worked as an intern at the Waupaca County district attorney’s office.

“Until you’re actually in there, you don’t realize just how much the district attorney has his hands on. It’s more than just trials,” Forseth said.

He currently works with the New London law firm of Werner Johnson & Hendrickson.

“I focus on estate planning and real estate,” Forseth said. “I also do research for Tom Johnson. I read through the discovery information in his criminal defense cases.”

He points to his work in estate planning as giving him experience in looking toward the future.

“There is an administrative aspect to the role of district attorney,” Forseth said. “The DA is repsonsible for creating internal policy, managing a staff and preparing a budget.”

He is also a partner with Dr. Jan Bax in a project to open a brew pub on Main Street in Waupaca.

Forseth said the new business, known as DocAtty’s, would be unique in Wisconsin in that it would have a brewery, distillery and winery in the same building.

After two years working on the project, the partners are currently modifying their original building plans in order to qualify for historic building rehabilitation tax credits.

In addition to being a member of the Waupaca County Bar Association, Forseth is head coach for the Waupaca High School wrestling team and a member of the Waupaca Lions Club and the Badgers Den Brewing Club.

Forseth believes his public involvement can help restore the public’s confidence in the district attorney’s office.

“I have a strong belief that all government offices need to have a positive public image and be accountable to those they serve,” Forseth said. “I intend to pursue changes to make the office more involved with the public and to increase transparency.”

He believes the district attorney should work more closely with and support law enforcement.

“We ask our law enforcement officers to take on a lot of responsibility and they are always under a lot of scrutiny,” Forseth said. “There is no reason for our officers to take on this burden alone.”

Forseth will face Assistant District Attorney Veronica Isherwood, who is running on the Republican ticket, in the Nov. 8 general election.

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