If there was ever a job in state government perceived as boring, it would be the job of Secretary of State. The office holder, elected in a statewide election, is paid just over $72,000 per year. In return, responsibilities include overseeing public records, and authenticating official acts of the legislature and the Governor. The Secretary of State also serves on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.
Currently there’s a number of candidates running for Secretary of State this year. Republicans and Democrats (and third parties) are battling it out to pick their top candidates in the August 9 primary election. But after 48 years of Democrats running the quiet little office, why all the partisan interest now? That’s because Wisconsin Republicans are pushing for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the bi-partisan panel of six appointed officials that oversee voting here, to be abolished. They want to take that authority and place it into the hands of the elected, partisan office of Secretary of State.
We speak with incumbent Doug LaFollette, who has held the office of Secretary of State continuously since 1982. He’s also run for other federal and statewide offices, including a run in the election to recall Scott Walker. LaFollette is also author of the book The Survival Handbook: A Strategy for Saving Planet Earth, and was a Fulbright Distinguished American Scholar in 2003.
View our other interviews with candidates running for Secretary of State, here.