This story was updated at 2 p.m. Wednesday with comments from Zipperer and information about a special election, including the candidacy of State Rep. Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee.
State Sen. Rich Zipperer has been appointed as the deputy chief of staff and senior counsel for Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker made the announcement late Wednesday morning. Zipperer, a Republican from Pewaukee, represents portions of Waukesha. He’s been a state senator since January 2011 in the 33rd District. He previously served two terms in the State Assembly.
“Moving into the second half of my first term, I am redeploying administration resources to ensure we have the strongest team possible to help the people of our state create jobs,” Walker said in a news release. “Evaluating the strengths and talents of administration staff will ensure we can constantly reform state government to improve services and operate efficiently.
“The newly assembled team will help Wisconsin continue down the path of prosperity.”
Zipperer also is a member of the Pewaukee Chamber of Commerce, the State Bar of Wisconsin, and is a board member of Bethany Christian Services Adoption & Orphan Care Agency of Wisconsin. He will begin his new role on Aug. 6 after spending his last day in the State Senate Aug. 5.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting Zipperer will make $107,000 in the new position.
“It has been an incredible honor serving the residents of Waukesha and Washington Counties in the State Assembly and Senate, and I will be forever thankful for the trust the voters placed in me to represent them and their families in Madison," Zipperer said in a prepared statement. "In my nearly six years in the legislature, I have been proud to advance reforms to balance our state’s budget, eliminate wasteful spending, and bring jobs back to our state.
“Even with these victories, much more remains to be done, and I am honored that Governor Walker has asked me to help him lead those efforts. Though I will be doing it from a new position, I intend to continue to work every day to help point our state toward an even brighter future.”
Zipperer Thanks Community for Support
Zipperer told Patch that he wanted to thank the people in the area who have supported him and shared concerns with him, even if they have opposing views. From the Town Hall meetings to chance encounters at the grocery store, local people “were incredibly respectful.”
“I have always appreciated the input from the public,” Zipperer said. “Serving as a senator for this dist has always been a great experience of me.”
Zipperer is looking forward to his new position on the Walker administration, saying the governor has great opportunities moving forward after winning his recall election in June. Zipperer’s appointment has been discussed during the past few weeks after “it kind of came up out of the blue for me,” he said.
In addition to the changes in collective bargaining law and balancing the state budget, Zipperer highlighted a number of success during his time in office, including bringing reform to earmarking to reduce wasteful spending on projects, passing major tort and legal reforms, GPS monitoring for violent domestic abusers and telecommunications reform.
“Sometimes it feels like I have gone through things that other senators who have been around for five, 10 years, haven’t seen,” said Zipperer, who has been a senator for a year and a half. “It has been an interesting time but it has been a very rewarding time. We have been able to get a lot done.”
Republican State Rep. Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield praised the move and thanked Zipperer for his public service and mentorship during Kooyenga's first term in the Assembly.
“Sen. Zipperer has served with honor and dignity,” Kooyenga said. “I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
Rep. Farrow Plans to Run in Special Election
A special election to fill Zipperer's seat has not yet been scheduled. His departure — plus John Lehman's June 5 recall of Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) — will give the Democrats a 17-15 edge in the Senate.
The redrawn 33rd District covers much of the middle of heavily Republican Waukesha County, from Pewaukee west to Oconomowoc Lake and from Sussex and Merton south to Waukesha and Mukwonago.
State Rep. Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee, announced Wednesday he would run for the State Senate seat.
“Wisconsin has been set back on course over the last two years. We eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit and the statewide unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008,” said Farrow in a prepared statement. “But our work is far from finished, and now more than ever, Wisconsin needs strong conservative leadership.
“Since the first day I entered public service, my promise has always been clear: to put the taxpayers first, and stand firm for responsible budgets and common-sense government. These principles have guided me all my life; in business, community service, and now into the legislature. I will continue to be guided by that conservative compass in the State Senate.”
State Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, is supporting Farrow in his bid for State Senate.
"I wish Senator Zipperer all the best in his new endeavor," said Kramer in a prepared statement. "He is a bright legislator and Governor Walker will be well‐served by his talents. It has been a privilege to work with Rich as we fought over the years to make Wisconsin a better place to live, work, and in which to retire. I thank him for his commitment to the residents of the 33rd Senate District.
“After several hours of discussion with Representative Farrow and some time of prayerful contemplation, it was clear that I needed to continue doing the work I began in the Assembly and to continue as a part of the leadership team. It was also clear that this was the time for my friend Paul, to join the Senate Republican Caucus."