Olsen retires from Senate
Ballweg to run for 14th District
State Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, announced Monday, Feb. 24, that he will not seek re-election in November and will retire at the end of this year.
After representing the 41st Assembly District for 10 years, Olsen was first elected to the state Senate in 2004.
He has represented the 14th Senate District, which includes most of Waupaca County. Most of Clintonville and part of New London are in the 2nd Senate District.
“For the last 26 years, I have walked into the Capitol building and admired its beauty and history and reflected on the responsibility I have as an elected official. It has been an honor to serve in the state legislature, but there comes a time in life when it’s time to move on,” Olsen explained. “Throughout my career, I have tried to be thoughtful, compassionate, and reasonable and have looked for long-term solutions to problems, rather than relying on quick fixes.”
Olsen served as the chair of the Education Committees in both the state Senate and state Assembly.
Currently, he is the vice-chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee and serves on a number of legislative committees, state and national boards.
“I have had the opportunity to work with so many talented people in the legislature, state agencies, interest groups, and on the national stage. I am confident these people will continue to work to improve education, promote good and efficient government, and look for the best ways to tackle tomorrow’s challenges,” Olsen said.
Olsen’s legislative interests have prioritized education, local government, small businesses and children. His focus on education includes introducing bills relating to school finance, teacher licensure, truancy, and open enrollment.
He has advocated for businesses in his district by authoring laws relating to rental units, wineries, and mobile homes and has worked with local governments to update state laws to allow them to find efficiencies through the use of modern technologies.
Olsen was the author of the state’s Graduated Driver’s License law, which changed the way teenagers get their driver’s license.
“I could not have served in the legislature without the support and encouragement of my family, especially my wife Joan. I look forward to spending more time with them, watching my grandchildren grow up, and riding my Harley.”
Ballweg runs for Senate
State Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, announced her candidacy for the 14th Senate District the same day Olsen announced his retirement.
“Since first being elected, I have pushed for less regulation and common-sense measures that benefit my constituents,” Ballweg said. “In the state senate, I will continue to listen to and connect with the concerns and interests of those at home and do all I can to be their voice in Madison.”
Ballweg was first elected to the state Assembly in 2004.
Before that she served as Mayor of Markesan where she still resides with her husband, Tom.
Together, they own and operate a farm equipment business in Waupun and a lawn equipment store in Beaver Dam.