Dave Hansen

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Dave Hansen
Wisconsin State Senate District 30
In office
2001 - Present
Term ends
January 2, 2017
Years in position 13
Assistant Minority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate
Assistant Majority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate
July 17, 2012 – 2013
Majority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate
Base salary$49,943/year
Per diem$88/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected2000
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wisconsin, Green Bay, 1971
Place of birthGreen Bay, WI
Office website
Campaign website
Dave Hansen (b. December 18, 1947) is a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate, representing District 30. He was first elected to the chamber in 2000.[1] He was the Assistant Majority Leader from July 17, 2012, to 2013.[2]


Hansen earned his B.S. from University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.[3] He is married and has three children.

Hansen's professional experiences include work as a steward with Teamster's Union, a teacher, and a truck driver for the Green Bay Department of Public Works. Hansen was previously a Brown County Board Supervisor from 1996 to 2002.

Hansen was the target of a recall in 2011. He easily defeated his opponent, David VanderLeest, to keep his seat.

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Hansen served on the following committees:

Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2013
Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism
Energy, Consumer Protection, and Government Reform
Senate Organization
Transportation, Public Safety, and Veterans and Military Affairs
Legislative Organization
Joint Survey on Retirement Systems


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Hansen served on the following committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Hansen served on the following committees:


2011 Legislative walkout

Hansen and the 13 other Democratic senators participated in a legislative walkout on February 17, 2011, in opposition to Assembly Bill 11 - a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at limiting collective bargaining rights, compensation and fringe benefits of public employees.[4] The Democratic departure left the Senate one vote shy of a quorum. Reports confirmed the senators fled to a hotel in Rockford, Illinois.[5] State police were dispatched by Governor Scott Walker (R) to retrieve the senators, but were unable to cross state lines.[6] The 14 state senators who left the state were described as the "Badger 14" or "Fab 14."[7]

On February 22, speaking from the basement of an Illinois hotel, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller provided the minority response to Gov. Scott Walker, saying, "The governor has the tools at his disposal to put this issue to an end. As soon as he is willing to take a compromise, we will go back to work in an instant." Miller stated that the legislators payed for the trip themselves, and that no taxpayer money was spent.[8]

Walker called on the Democratic senators to return to the state by March 1 in order to vote to restructure the state's debt. If they did not, he stated he may have to start cutting state jobs, saying:
"It’s not just a number, it’s not just a budget, it’s ultimately a real person with a real family, so I’m going to push that back as far as I can. We’ve got to have real numbers to balance the budget to avoid layoffs. My hope is those 14 state senators … realize that in the end, it’s much better off to avoid those cuts, it’s much better off to avoid the most dire consequences that will come if we don’t pass this bill."[9]
The Democratic senators said they would not return until the governor was willing to compromise on the budget-repair bill.

Democrats threatened with arrest

Republicans passed a unanimous resolution on March 3 finding the missing legislators in contempt and threatening them with arrest. It gave them until 4 p.m. to return or the sergeant-at-arms was ordered to take "any and all necessary steps, with or without force, and with or without the assistance of law enforcement, by warrant or other legal process, as he may deem necessary in order to bring that senator to the Senate chambers."[10]

The constitutionality of that resolution was unclear, however, as the Wisconsin Constitution only allows for the arrest of legislators while in session if they are suspected of committing a felony, treason, or breach of the peace. Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said the resolution was an "unreasonable abuse of police power."[11]

Sen. Jon Erpenbach provided the Democratic response, stating, "All 14 of us remain in Illinois, very strong in our convictions. Issuing arrest warrants at 4 p.m. isn't going to solve the problem. This is a debate about protection of the middle class in Wisconsin; that is what the Republicans should be focusing on."[10]

The move by Republicans came the day after they issued fines of $100 a day for not showing up at the Capitol, along with taking away parking spaces.[12] The week before Republicans also passed a rule suspending direct-deposit of paychecks. Sen. Erpenbach found a way around this by granting power of attorney to two of his aides, giving them power to, among other things, pick up his paycheck. In the end Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald mailed the check to Erpenbach.[13]

Meeting and possible compromises

On March 7, Democratic leader Sen. Mark Miller sent a letter to the governor and senate majority leader asking for a meeting near the Wisconsin-Illinois border to restart talks on the collective bargaining issue.[14] Gov. Walker responded at a press conference, calling the letter "ridiculous," and saying that several meetings between the two sides have taken place, but that Miller has stood in the way of a compromise.[15]

Sen. Chris Larson said, "Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans."[16]

On March 8, the Governor's office released an email exchange dated March 6 between Eric Schutt, Walker's deputy chief of staff, and Democratic Senators Cullen and Jauch. The exchange discusses possible compromises on the bill, including allowing unions to bargain for wages beyond inflation rates, permitting collective-bargaining on certain economic issues, allowing public workers to collectively bargain workplace safety issues, and limiting collective bargaining agreements to 2 years or less.[17]

Republicans pass bill

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results

In a surprise maneuver, Senate Republicans on March 9 passed controversial reforms to the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers. In a process that took just over two hours, Republicans passed the bill by a vote of 18-1, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R) casting the only no vote.[18]

Republicans skirted the need for a quorum by removing the sections of the bill that had to do with appropriating funds. With these removed, the bill only needed to be passed by a simple majority -- rather than requiring a quorum of 20 senators. At 4 p.m. on March 9 a conference committee on the budget-repair bill was convened. Two hours later the committee met and advanced the new measure without debate. Immediately following that, the Senate met and passed the new version, also without debate. It was then sent to the Assembly.[19]

The only Democrat present at the meeting, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D), attempted to stop the proceedings, stating that the committee was in violation of the state's open meeting law. According to the law, most public bodies are required to give 24 hours notice before a meeting. The two hours notice that the committee provided led Barca to declare, "Mr. Chairman, this is a violation of law! This is not just a rule — this is the law."[18] Ignoring Barca, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) ordered the vote taken as shouts of protest rang from the galleries.

The bill was given a stay by Dane County Court Judge Maryann Sumi. On May 26, 2011, Sumi struck down the legislative actions leading to the bill eliminating public employee collective bargaining on the grounds that it violated the state's Open Meetings Law. The state Departments of Justice and Department of Administration appealed the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.[20][21] On June 14 the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the district court decision, stating it "exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers...and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the act."[22]

Recall campaigns

In the wake of events surrounding the bill, both Democratic and Republican senators were targeted by active recall campaigns. Recall sponsors filed signatures on petitions targeting six Republican state senators and three Democratic state senators. Challenges were filed in all nine of those campaigns, and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board approved the six campaigns against Republicans at meetings on May 23 and May 31, and approved the three campaigns against Democrats on June 8. Democrats held onto the 30th District seat on July 19. Republicans lost two seats in the August 9 recalls, but held onto four. Two incumbent Democrats successfully retained their seats on August 16.

Legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Sen. Hansen includes:[23]

  • A resolution to provide some school district property tax relief to people who live in Wisconsin[24]
  • A bill permitting tort action against the seller of residential real estate for fraud or intentional misrepresentation[25]
  • A bill increasing the property tax deferral loan amount for elderly homeowners[26]

Nonpartisan redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Wisconsin

In December 2012, Hansen said he planned to introduce legislation to make the once a decade redistricting process nonpartisan. It process, which is currently controlled by the legislature, saw was extremely partisan and divisive following the 2010 census. Hansen's bill would put the Legislative Reference Bureau in charge of redrawing the maps as well as require a nonpartisan redistricting advisory commission.[27]



Hansen won re-election to the 2012 election for the Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 seat. He ran unopposed in the primary election and defeated John Macco (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[28]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 30, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDave Hansen Incumbent 54.2% 42,949
     Republican John Macco 45.7% 36,178
     - Scattering 0.1% 77
Total Votes 79,204

2011 recall

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results
See also: Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011) and Dave Hansen recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2011)

Hansen easily defeated David VanderLeest (R) in the July 19 recall election.

July 19 Recall[29]
Candidates Votes Percent
Dave Hansen (D) Approveda 22,051 65.93%
David VanderLeest (R) 11,054 33.05%
Scattering 340 1.02%

An effort to recall Hansen from office got underway in March 2011.[30][31] About 18,872 signatures were filed with state election officials on April 21.[32] In early May the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board verified 17,099 signatures on the petition, enough to force a recall. They disqualified over 1,700 and still had to review some 5,500 that have been challenged by Hansen.[33]

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) was initially scheduled to review the challenges on May 31, but that was delayed until June 8. At that meeting, the Board validated 15,540 signatures, enough for the recall, setting the election date for July 19.[34]

Republican Assemblyman John Nygren announced on May 10 that he would run against Hansen.[35] The leader of the recall campaign, David VanderLeest, joined the race on May 22.[36] A primary between the two was scheduled to be held July 19, but Nygren was removed from the ballot for having an insufficient number of signatures on his nomination papers.

He appealed the GAB decision in circuit court,[37] but the original decision was upheld. Nygren blamed the outcome on “Democrat-appointed GAB staff that has constantly worked against me as I defended myself from the Democratic Party’s frivolous challenges.”[38]

Mary Scray, vice chair of the Brown County Board, announced she would probably run against Hansen in a recall.[39] However, on May 26, 2011, Scray dropped out of the race, citing family and professional responsibilities.[40]


On November 4, 2008, Dave Hansen won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate, District 28.[41]

Dave Hansen raised $238,107 for his campaign, while Chad Fradette raised $37,679.[42]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 28 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Dave Hansen (D) 51,643
Chad Fradette (R) 26,483

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Hansen is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Hansen raised a total of $1,106,004 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 6, 2013.[43]

Dave Hansen's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Won $141,322
2011 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Won $346,595
2010 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Not up for election $27,885
2008 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Won $238,107
2006 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Not up for election $39,639
2004 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Won $150,019
2002 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Not up for election $5,005
2000 Wisconsin State Senate, District 30 Won $157,432
Grand Total Raised $1,106,004


Hansen won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $141,322.
Wisconsin State Senate 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Dave Hansen's campaign in 2012
Brown County Democratic Party$2,000
Cooperative Outreach for Objective Politics$1,250
Smits, Clayton E$1,050
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 400$1,000
Wisconsin Education Association Council$1,000
Total Raised in 2012$141,322
Source:Follow the Money


Hansen won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2011. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $346,595.


Hansen was not up for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $27,885.


Hansen won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $238,107.


Hansen won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $39,639.


Hansen was not up for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $150,019.


Hansen was not up for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2002. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $5,005.


Hansen won election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2000. During that election cycle, Hansen raised a total of $157,432.

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See also

External links

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  1. Wisconsin State Legislature, "2013 Senate Resolution 1, " January 7, 2013
  2. Wisconsin Radio Network, "Senate leadership transferred to Democrats," July 17, 2012
  3. Project Vote Smart, "Biography," accessed May 5, 2014
  4. Wisconsin.gov, "ASSEMBLY BILL 11," accessed February 17, 2011
  5. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin Democrats flee to Clock Tower Hotel in Rockford, Ill., to block anti-union bill," February 17, 2011
  6. Bloomberg Businessweek, "Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state," February 17, 2011
  7. Facebook, "Fab 14," accessed May 6, 2014
  8. WISN, "State Sen. Minority Leader Responds to Walker," February 22, 2010
  9. Christian Science Monitor, "Wisconsin governor to missing senators: Come back or I'll lay off 1,500," February 28, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 Wall Street Journal, "Pressure Mounts on Absent Democrats in Wisconsin, Indiana," March 3, 2011
  11. Wisconsin State Journal, "Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats," March 3, 2011
  12. My Fox Chicago, "Wisconsin GOP Slaps Missing Dems With $100 Daily Fines," March 2, 2011
  13. Talking Points Memo, "AWOL Wisconsin Dem Beats The System, Gets His Paycheck Mailed To Him," March 3, 2011
  14. New York Times, "Wisconsin Democrats Urge New Talks on Labor Bill," March 7, 2011
  15. CNN, "Wisconsin gov: Democratic senator's border meeting idea 'ridiculous'," March 7, 2011
  16. Talking Points Memo, "Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return," March 6, 2011
  17. CNN, "E-mails: Wisconsin governor offers concessions on budget bill," March 8, 2011
  18. 18.0 18.1 Miami-Herald, "Wisconsin Republicans bypass Democrats on union bill," March 9, 2011
  19. Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Senate advances collective bargaining changes; Democrats to return after Assembly vote," March 9, 2011
  20. Wisconsin State Journal, "Judge strikes down Walker's collective bargaining law, case moves to state Supreme Court," May 26, 2011
  21. Wisconsin Reporter, "Judge: Collective bargaining bill violated open meetings law," May 26, 2011
  22. Shorewood Patch, "UPDATE: Unions Sue to Block Supreme Court's Reinstatement of Controversial Budget Repair Bill," June 14, 2011
  23. State Legislature, "Dave Hansen Legislation," accessed May 6, 2014
  24. State Legislature, "Resolution 7," accessed May 6, 2014
  25. State Legislature, "Bill 9," accessed May 6, 2014
  26. State Legislature, "Bill 87," accessed May 6, 2014
  27. Door County Daily News, "Hansen To Introduce Bill For Non-Partisan Redistricting," December 8, 2012
  28. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "2012 Candidate List," accessed May 6, 2014
  29. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "July 12 Primary Election Results District 30," accessed August 11, 2011
  30. Recall Dave Hansen, "Website," accessed May 6, 2014
  31. AOL News, "Wisconsin Election Recall Reality Check," February 23, 2011
  32. Wisconsin Public Radio, "Recall signatures now filed against nearly one-fourth of Wisconsin Senate," April 22, 2011
  33. WTAQ, "GAB verifies enough recall Sen. Hansen signitures to move forward," May 12, 2011
  34. WisPolitics, "Dem recalls certified," June 8, 2011
  35. Daily Reporter, "Wisconsin GOP assemblyman to run against Democratic senator in recall election," May 10, 2011
  36. WTAQ, "'Recall Dave Hansen' organizer running for Senate," May 22, 2011
  37. ‘’Wis Politics “Nygren vows to pursue further legal options,” June 27, 2011
  38. WisPolitics, “Nygren Campaign: Statement following Dane County court decision,” July 1, 2011
  39. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Senate recall races tempt Assembly members," April 30, 2011
  40. WFRV 5 "Scary drops out of Sen. Hansen recall race," May 26, 2011
  41. Government Accountability Board, "Wisconsin State Election Results, 2008," accessed May 6, 2014
  42. Follow the Money, "2008 contributions," accessed May 6, 2014
  43. followthemoney.org, "Hansen, Dave," accessed June 6, 2013
Political offices
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Wisconsin State Senate District 30
Succeeded by