Former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager has died

Published: Mar. 31, 2018 at 9:57 AM CDT
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Former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager has died, according to a news release from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. She was 62.

Bill Rippl, her husband, says she died early Saturday surrounded by family at their home in Fond du Lac. She had been diagnosed with cancer.

Martha Laning, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Chair, issued a statement on the news of Lautenschlager's passing.

“Today we say farewell today to one of Wisconsin’s most dedicated grassroots progressives, for whom no work was too small or too big in her fight for justice, fairness and opportunity for all Wisconsinites," Laning said. "With great intellect, humor and compassion, Peg Lautenschlager served her neighbors, her home community of Fond du Lac and all of our state as our first woman to be elected Attorney General."

Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Schilling, of La Crosse, also issued a statement.

“It is with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing of Peg. She was a trailblazer for many women in Wisconsin politics, a loyal friend and true blue Democrat," Sen. Schilling said. "Peg was a trusted political mentor to many and was always willing to lend her insight, advice and enthusiasm to friends and family across the state."

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel also gave his condolences:

“I did not know Peg well but many of the team members at the Wisconsin Department of Justice did, so I have learned more about her. Peg was passionate about her beliefs, cared deeply about her colleagues, and adored her family," Schimel said. "I appreciate her many decades of public service and commitment to Wisconsin. She hired many of the fine public servants who now work at DOJ on behalf of the people of Wisconsin and her dedication lives on through their daily work."

Lautenschlager had served as district attorney in Winnebago County, a Democratic state representative and a U.S. attorney in Madison before she won election as attorney general in 2002.

She was defeated in a primary in 2006, two years after being cited for drunken driving after she drove her state car into a ditch. In 2016, she was appointed as the first commissioner of the newly formed Ethics Commission, from which she later resigned. Her career spanned more than 30 years.

Son Josh Kaul is now running for attorney general.