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Sarah Godlewski appointed as Wisconsin Secretary of State as Doug La Follette announces retirement

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Sarah Godlewski at La Crosse City Hall

MADISON (WQOW) - The job of Wisconsin secretary of state will be held by an Eau Claire native as the man who has been at the helm for decades retires. 

In a press release, Gov. Tony Evers announced that he is appointing former State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to the role. Godlewski did not seek reelection to be Treasurer in 2022, instead launching a U.S. Senate campaign. 

Secretary of state Doug La Follette is retiring effective March 17, according to Gov. Evers. La Follette  a distant relative of "Fighting" Bob La Follette  was first elected in 1974, then again in 1982. He has been Secretary of State for 11 consecutive terms. 

“Secretary of State La Follette’s retirement after more than 40 years of state service leaves an incredibly important role to fill, and I want to thank him for his years of dedication to the people of Wisconsin throughout his long career,” said Gov. Evers. “In a critical position that has seen no turnover in decades, maintaining continuity with a leader who’s prepared and committed to fulfilling this office’s constitutional obligations could not be more important—and there’s no one more uniquely qualified or better suited for the job than Sarah.”

Godlewski, who graduated from Memorial High School in 2000, will the third woman to be Wisconsin's secretary of state. On Twitter Friday, she thanked Gov. Evers for the appointment and said "It’s honor an to continue to serve the people of Wisconsin as Secretary of State. I’m ready to get to work!."

The Associated Press reports that Wisconsin’s secretary of state has almost no official duties. But since the 2020 presidential election, Republicans have been mulling shifting oversight of elections to that office, which hasn’t played a role in Wisconsin elections since 1974.

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