|Wisconsin State Senate District 12|
|2009 - January 3, 2013|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||August 16, 2011|
|First elected||November 4, 2008|
|Assembly Member, Wisconsin State Assembly|
|1983 - 1993|
|Bachelor's||University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, 1973|
|Place of birth||Eagle River, WI|
- 1 Issue positions
- 2 Committee assignments
- 3 Legislative walkout
- 4 Elections
- 5 Sponsored legislation
- 6 Campaign donors
- 7 External links
- 8 Personal
- 9 References
Holperin's professional experiences include director; executive director; business services coordinator; and assistant chief clerk.
Holperin earned a BS from University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. 
He survived recall attempts in 1990 and 2011.
Sen. Holperin's issue positions, according to his campaign website:
- Supports alternative energy research
- Supports increased funding for rural roads
- Pro-gun, Pro-sporting rights
- Supports increased funding for marketing Wisconsin tourism
- Supports more property tax relief for low income homeowners
- Supports increased aid to technical colleges
- Supports the logging industry
In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Holperin served on these committees:
- Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education
- Natural Resources and Environment
- Workforce Development, Small Business, and Tourism
In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Holperin served on these committees:
- Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources Committee, Wisconsin Senate, Chair
- Administrative Rules Committee, Wisconsin Senate, Chair
- Rural Issues, Biofuels, and Information Technology Committee, Wisconsin Senate
- Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Technical Colleges, and Consumer Protection Committee, Wisconsin Senate
- Review of Administrative Rules, Co-Chair
- Special Committee on Single-Use Plastics
Holperin 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. The Democratic departure left the Senate one vote shy of a quorum. Reports confirmed the senators fled to a hotel in Rockford, Illinois. State police were dispatched by Governor Scott Walker (R) to retrieve the senators, but were unable to cross state lines.  The 14 state senators who left the state are being described as the "Badger 14" or "Fab 14."
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.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.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."
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."
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."
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. 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 Erpenbaach.
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. 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.
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."
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.
Republicans pass bill
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.
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.
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." 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.  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."
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 6 Republican state senators and 3 Democratic state senators. Challenges were filed in all 9 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.
An effort to recall Holperin from office got underway in March 2011. About 23,000 signatures to recall Holperin were filed on April 21, 2011. The GAB was initially scheduled to review challenges to the position on May 31, but it was delayed until June 8. At that meeting the GAB verified 19,255 signatures, enough for the recall, setting the election date for July 19.
Republican Kim Simac announced on May 5 that she would be running against Holperin. Simac is a Tea Party leader and President of the Northwoods Patriots. Current Lincoln County Board Chairman Robert Lussow announced on May 18 that he was joining the race. A primary between the two was held July 19, with Simac easily defeating Lussow.
Holperin defeated Simac in the August 16 recall.
|August 16 Recall - District 12|
|Jim Holperin (D)||30,450||55.12%|
|Kim Simac (R)||24,682||44.67%|
Ads relating to the campaign
Jim Holperin raised $326,813 for his campaign, while Tom Tiffany raised $286,189.
|Wisconsin State Senate, District 12 (2008)|
|Jim Holperin (D)||43,595|
According to records available as of May 17, 2011, Holperin raised $18,861 during 2010, a year he was not up for election. Listed below are the top five contributors.
|Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 400||$1,000|
|Northwestern Mutual Life||$1,000|
|Wisconsin Wholesale Beer Distributors||$1,000|
|Lawton for Governor||$1,000|
Some of the top contributors to Sen. Holperin's 2008 campaign, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:
- State Senate Democratic Committee, Patricia Miller Friebert, Tony Dicks, Wisconsin Laborers District Council, Ron Ansin, and others
Health care companies and interests were his largest donor group. The majority of contributions were from individuals.
In 2008, Holperin collected $326,813 in donations.
Listed below are the top four contributors to his campaign. 
|State Senate Democratic Committee||$3,849|
|Patricia Miller Friebert||$1,050|
|Operating Engineers Local 139||$1,000|
- Holperin's Campaign website
- Biography from the Wisconsin Legislature
- Project Vote Smart biographical profile
- Project Vote Smart legislative profile
- Campaign contributions: 2011, 2010, 2008
Holperin is married and has two children.
- Project Vote Smart - Senator Holperin
- Energy policy
- Gun rights
- Property tax relief
- Tech school aid
- Wisconsin.gov, ASSEMBLY BILL 11, accessed 17 Feb. 2011
- Green Bay Press Gazette, Wisconsin Democrats flee to Clock Tower Hotel in Rockford, Ill., to block anti-union bill, 17 Feb. 2011
- Bloomberg Businessweek, Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state, 17 Feb. 2011
- The Badger 14
- Fab 14 Facebook page
- WISN, "State Sen. Minority Leader Responds to Walker," February 22, 2010
- Christian Science Monitor, "Wisconsin governor to missing senators: Come back or I'll lay off 1,500," February 28, 2011
- Wall Street Journal, "Pressure Mounts on Absent Democrats in Wisconsin, Indiana," March 3, 2011
- Wisconsin State Journal, "Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats," March 3, 2011
- My Fox Chicago, "Wisconsin GOP Slaps Missing Dems With $100 Daily Fines," March 2, 2011
- Talking Points Memo, "AWOL Wisconsin Dem Beats The System, Gets His Paycheck Mailed To Him," March 3, 2011
- New York Times, "Wisconsin Democrats Urge New Talks on Labor Bill," March 7, 2011
- CNN, "Wisconsin gov: Democratic senator's border meeting idea 'ridiculous'," March 7, 2011
- Talking Points Memo, "Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return," March 6, 2011
- CNN, "E-mails: Wisconsin governor offers concessions on budget bill," March 8, 2011
- Miami-Herald, "Wisconsin Republicans bypass Democrats on union bill," March 9, 2011
- Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Senate advances collective bargaining changes; Democrats to return after Assembly vote," March 9, 2011
- Wisconsin State Journal, "Judge strikes down Walker's collective bargaining law, case moves to state Supreme Court", May 26, 2011
- Wisconsin Reporter, "Judge: Collective bargaining bill violated open meetings law", May 26, 2011
- Shorewood Patch, "UPDATE: Unions Sue to Block Supreme Court's Reinstatement of Controversial Budget Repair Bill," June 14, 2011
- "Recall Jim Holperin" website
- AOL News, "Wisconsin Election Recall Reality Check", February 23, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two state representatives won't run against Holperin", May 5, 2011
- WisPolitics, "Dem recalls certified," June 8, 2011
- WJFW, "Kim Simac Announces Candidacy for 12th State Senate District," May 5, 2011
- Fox 11 Online "Potential challenger for Sen. Holperin," May 18, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 12 recall election results," accessed August 26, 2011
- Wisconsin State Election Results
- Follow the Money 2008
- Legislation by Sen. Holperin
- Bill 160
- [field%20folio-destination-name:%27sb167%27$x=Advanced#0-0-0-219315 Bill 167]
- 2010 contributors to Jim Holperin
- Sen. Holperin 2008 campaign contributions
- 2008 contributors to Jim Holperin
|Wisconsin State Senate District 12
| Succeeded by|
Tom Tiffany (R)