Fred Clark

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Incumbent Democratic senators Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch faced recall on August 16, 2011 in Wisconsin. Results are available here.

Fred Clark
Clark fred.jpg
Wisconsin State Assembly District 42
Assumed office
Current term ends
January 3, 2013
Political party Democratic
Profession Legislator
Website Assembly website
Fred Clark (b. May 14, 1959) is a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 42nd District since 2009 and currently serving as Minority Caucus Vice Chair.

Clark is the Owner/Forester/Contractor of Clark * Forestry Committee, Incorporated. He previously worked as a service forester/consultant with the Wisconsin Department of * Natural Resources Committee, and as a forest ecologist for the The Nature Conservancy.

He is a member of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, Forest Guild, National Wild Turkey Federation, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, and Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.[1]

On his campaign site Clark listed a number of legislative priorities, including:[2]

  • Campaign finance reform - "We continue to believe in the democratic principle of one person-one vote. Yet Wisconsin’s regulation of campaign financing is not up the task of protecting that promise."
  • Affordable health care - "Since the federal government is failing to lead in one of the most pressing issues facing our country, Wisconsin must step up to ensure that every Wisconsin citizen has access to affordable, comprehensive health care."
  • Public education - "Wisconsin needs a complete reform of our primary school financing system. We need to fund schools using methods that will allow EVERY school district to meet our state’s own standards for adequacy in education."
  • Tax equity - "We need to reform business taxation in Wisconsin to ensure that everyone pays their fair share and that the burden of taxation is no longer falling unfairly on the backs of our property owners and middle class citizens."

Committee assignments


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Clark has been appointed to these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Clark served on these committees:


2011 recall

See also: Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011) and Luther Olsen recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2011)

Clark announced on April 21 that he would run against Republican state Sen. Luther Olsen in a recall election.[3]

About 24,000 signatures were filed against Olsen on April 18, seeking his recall. On May 23 the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board rejected Olsen's challenges to the petition and certified 22,207 signatures, clearing the way for a recall election to be held July 12.[4]

Clark said he is opposing Olsen because of his support for Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill. Clark stated, "I had worked with Luther and respected him. I spoke to him and told him I hoped he'd try to find a compromise (but) at the end of the day he voted along with the rest of his colleagues. They voted without any debate and walked out. That was the night he stopped representing the people."[5]

In late May, Clark publicly challenged Olsen to at least three debates before the election. The Democratic Party released a statement on May 31 saying that Olsen has ignored the calls. Olsen's campaign manager, Jeff Weigand, called the accusation "ridiculous," adding that they had not received any calls or emails from Clark asking for debates.[6] On June 5, Olsen said he would be happy to debate his opponent, but as Clark had not yet filed nomination papers, it is premature to set up debates.[7] Clark released a statement on July 11 calling out Olsen for his failure to respond to requests for debates.[8]

GOP officials placed Rol Church on the ballot as a Democratic candidate, forcing a primary between Church and Clark, delaying the actual recall election by four weeks.[9]

Robert Forseth had filed to run as a "placeholder" Democrat. Following the news that all six "fake" Democrats had turned in their final paperwork to get on the ballot to the GAB, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced that it would not be running their placeholder candidates in the recalls as they are no longer necessary. Party Chair Mike Tate explained, "The goal of the placeholder candidacies was to create an insurance policy against further Republican attempts to exploit the recall election schedule through dirty tricks and cynical plots."[10]

All three had filed nomination papers with a sufficient number of verified signatures.


Clark and Olsen have agreed to a series of debates taking place on three consecutive days from July 26-28, with a fourth being proposed. The first is being sponsored by the Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative, and will have no audience participation, but the public may suggest questions beforehand. The second will be put on by the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, with the third sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area.[11]

July 12 Democratic Primary

Clark easily defeated Church in the primary.

July 12 Democratic primary[12]
Candidates Votes Percent
Fred Clark Approveda 15,052 66.7%
Rol Church 7,346 32.55%
Scattering 169 0.75%
  • Robert Forseth Note: Forseth filed nomination papers with sufficient signatures but did not file final papers to be on the ballot.

Ads relating to the campaign

Ad controversy

On July 15, the state Democratic Party sent a formal letter to six television stations asking them to pull an ad paid for by Wisconsin Family Action which they say is "shameful" and "grossly mischaracterizes and purposely deceives the voters about Fred Clark and his strong commitment to his family."[13] The ad alleges that Clark stated his child support payments "weren't a huge priority."


See also: Wisconsin State Assembly elections, 2010

Clark was re-elected to Wisconsin State Assembly District 42. He defeated Republican Jack Cummings in the general election on November 2, 2010. Clark was unopposed in the September 14, 2010 primary election.[14]

Wisconsin State Assembly, District 42 General Election (2010)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Fred Clark (D) 10,208
Jack Cummings (R) 9,921
Wisconsin State Assembly, District 42

Democratic primary (2010)

Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Fred Clark (D) 1,656 99.76%

Legislation sponsored in 2009 includes:

  • AB-180 Environmental Results Program revisions and name changed to Green Tier Program, Environmental Cooperation Pilot Program provisions; Environmental Improvement Program revisions and name changed to Environmental Compliance Audit Program; DNR duties.
  • AB-245 Lobbying by former legislators prohibited for 12 months following their last day in office; penalty provisions
  • AB-295 Lodging establishment may permit smoking in certain guest rooms

For a full listing of sponsored legislation and details see the House site.

Campaign donors


According to records available as of May 18, 2011, Clark raised $89,303 during 2010. Listed below are the top five contributors.[15]

Donor Amount
Public Fund $6,188
Don B. Katz $1,000
Democratic Party of Columbia County $1,000
Fred Clark $1,000
Lynde B. Uihlein $750


The top 5 donors to Clark's 2008 campaign were individuals:[16]

Donor Amount
Democratic Party of Columbia County $1,000
Clark, Fred $580
Guries, Raymond $550
Kessler, Frederick $511
Zimmerman, Anne $500

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Wisconsin State Assembly District 42
Succeeded by