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Peg Lautenschlager dies at 62

Peg Lautenschlager

Peg Lautenschlager

Peg Lautenschlager, the first woman to serve as attorney general of Wisconsin, died on Saturday at 62 following a battle with cancer.

Lautenschlager, a Democrat, was attorney general from 2003 to 2007. Years before, in 1985, she became the first woman elected district attorney of Winnebago County. She went on, in 1988, to be elected to the state Assembly and was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin in 1993.

In 1992, she had challenged U.S. Rep. Tom Petri to his seat in Congress, losing in a close race.

Her time as attorney general came to an end in 2006, when she was defeated in a primary election by Kathleen Falk. Falk went on to lose in the general election to J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican.

Condolences came from public officials on both sides of the political aisle. Senate Minority Jennifer Shilling, a Democrat, said: “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. 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.”

Current Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, said: “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. 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.”

About Dan Shaw, dshaw@wislawjournal.com

Dan Shaw is the managing editor at the Wisconsin Law Journal. He can be reached at dshaw@wislawjournal.com or at 414-225-1807.

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