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Difference between revisions of "Kathleen Vinehout"

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Vinehout announced in May that she would run for re-election.<ref>[ ''LaCrosse Tribune'', "Vinehout announces re-election bid," May 29, 2014]</ref>
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Revision as of 15:50, 24 July 2014

Kathleen Vinehout
Vinehout kathleen.jpg
Wisconsin State Senate District 31
In office
2007 - Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 8
Base salary$49,943/year
Per diem$88/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First elected2006
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Associate'sLincolnLand Community College, 1992
Bachelor'sSouthern Illinois University, 1980
Master'sSaint Louis University, 1982
Ph.D.University of Illinois, Springfield, 1987
Date of birth06/16/1958
Place of birthAlbany, NY
Office website
Campaign website
Kathleen Vinehout (b. June 16, 1958) is a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate, representing District 31. She was first elected to the chamber in 2006.

Vinehout unsuccessfully ran for Wisconsin Governor in the 2012 recall election against incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, losing in the primary. She was considering another run for the position in the 2014 elections but withdrew from the race in January, 2014.


Vinehout earned a B.S. in education from Southern Illinois University, an M.S. in public health from Saint Louis University, a PhD from University of Illinois, Springfield, and an AD in Agriculture from LincolnLand Community College.

Vinehout's professional experiences include researcher/quality assurance specialist, an organic farmer, a nursing assistant, a health care manager, an education director, and a professor at University of Illinois, Springfield. She is also the Chair of the Democratic Party of Buffalo County.[1]

Committee assignments


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

Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2013
Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism
Administrative Rules
Information Policy and Technology
Joint Legislative Audit


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


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


Legislative walkout

Vinehout 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.[2] The Democratic departure left the Senate one vote shy of a quorum. Reports confirmed the senators fled to a hotel in Rockford, Illinois.[3] State police were dispatched by Governor Scott Walker (R) to retrieve the senators, but were unable to cross state lines.[4] The 14 state senators who left the state were described as the "Badger 14" or "Fab 14."[5]

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.[6]

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."[7]
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."[8]

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."[9]

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."[8]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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."[14]

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 two years or less.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

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."[16] 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.[18][19] 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."[20]

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.

Landline requirements

Vinehout promoted legislation that would require phone companies to maintain landline service, despite coverage improvements via cellular and wireless provision. Citing elderly populations in rural areas that need reliable access to phone lines, Vinehout sought to return a privision, removed from state law by legislation in 2011, that required phone service providers to build and maintain physical phone lines as an emergency provider role. Phone companies contend that wireless systems are becoming more advanced and reliable, and that copper lines are expensive to maintain in an era of cell phone saturation.[21]

Recent legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Sen. Vinehout includes[22]

  • A bill modifying how dependents may be covered under health insurance[23]
  • A bill creating court presumption criteria regarding the privilege of self defense[24]

Campaign themes


Vinehout's website highlighted the following campaign themes:[25]

  • Reform the health care system to make it more affordable and accessible (her top priority).
  • Maintain state funding for schools.
  • "End the partisan bickering" and "work together" to accomplish these goals.



See also: Wisconsin State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for 17 seats in the Wisconsin State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on August 12, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 2, 2014. Incumbent Kathleen Vinehout ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Mel Pittman defeated Bill Ingram in the Republican primary. Vinehout defeated Pittman in the general election.[26][27][28][29]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKathleen Vinehout Incumbent 52.4% 35,508
     Republican Mel Pittman 47.6% 32,317
Total Votes 67,825
Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMel Pittman 69.1% 3,573
Bill Ingram 30.9% 1,598
Total Votes 5,171
See also Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2014

Vinehout was considering a run for Governor in the 2014 elections. In early November, 2013, she said she was building a grassroots campaign to defeat Scott Walker (R), but that she wouldn't officially announce her run until January.[30]

On January 17, 2014, Vinehout withdrew from the race, citing injuries caused by a recent car accident.[31]

Senator Vinehout talks about the current problems with health care, the economy and schools


See also: Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin (2012)

Vinehout ran for Wisconsin Governor in the recall election against incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, losing in the primary.[32]

Recall petitions were turned in on January 17, 2012, and certified on March 30. Vinehout declared her candidacy on February 8.[33] She faced Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, Douglas La Follette and protest candidate Gladys Huber in the primary on May 8.[34] Hariprasad "Hari" Trivedi is running as an independent.[35]

Wisconsin Governor Recall - Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTom Barrett 58.1% 390,191
Kathleen Falk 34.1% 229,236
Kathleen Vinehout 4% 26,967
Doug La Follette 2.9% 19,497
Gladys Huber 0.7% 4,847
Scattering 0.1% 864
Total Votes 671,602
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.


See also: Wisconsin State Senate elections, 2010

Vinehout was re-elected to the Wisconsin State Senate District 31 seat. She was unopposed in the primary. Her opponent in the general election of November 2, 2010, was Republican Ed Thompson.[36] [37][38]

A recount request was filed with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on November 9, 2010.[39] The recount was final on December 1, 2010[40].

Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 (2010) General Election
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Kathleen Vinehout (D) 30,314 50.27%
Ed Thompson (R) 29,911 49.61%
Wisconsin Senate, District 31 Democratic Primary (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Kathleen Vinehout (D) 7,251 99.78 %


On November 7, 2006, Kathleen Vinehout was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, District 31.[41]

Kathleen Vinehout raised $182,848 for her campaign, while Ron Brown, incumbent, raised $281,694.[42]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 (2006)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Kathleen Vinehout (D) 31,895
Ron Brown (R) 29,890

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Vinehout is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Vinehout raised a total of $511,421 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 5, 2013.[43]

Kathleen Vinehout's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Wisconsin Defeated $119,860
2010 Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 Won $186,628
2008 Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 Not up for election $22,085
2006 Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 Won $182,848
Grand Total Raised $511,421


Vinehout lost the election for the Governor of Wisconsin in 2012. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $119,860.
Governor of Wisconsin 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Kathleen Vinehout's campaign in 2012
Capitol One$10,524
Bank Of Alma$6,500
Kane, Cynthia$3,000
Kane, Norman$3,000
Total Raised in 2012$119,860
Source:Follow the Money


Vinehout won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $186,628.


Vinehout was not up for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $22,085.


Vinehout won election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $182,848.


Vinehout and her husband, Douglas Kane, have one child, Nathan.

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External links

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  1. Project Vote Smart, "Biography," accessed May 5, 2014
  2., "ASSEMBLY BILL 11," accessed February 17, 2011
  3. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin Democrats flee to Clock Tower Hotel in Rockford, Ill., to block anti-union bill," February 17, 2011
  4. Bloomberg Businessweek, Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state, 17 Feb. 2011
  5. Facebook, "Fab 14," accessed May 6, 2014
  6. WISN, "State Sen. Minority Leader Responds to Walker," February 22, 2010
  7. Christian Science Monitor, "Wisconsin governor to missing senators: Come back or I'll lay off 1,500," February 28, 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wall Street Journal, "Pressure Mounts on Absent Democrats in Wisconsin, Indiana," March 3, 2011
  9. Wisconsin State Journal, "Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats," March 3, 2011
  10. My Fox Chicago, "Wisconsin GOP Slaps Missing Dems With $100 Daily Fines," March 2, 2011
  11. Talking Points Memo, "AWOL Wisconsin Dem Beats The System, Gets His Paycheck Mailed To Him," March 3, 2011
  12. New York Times, "Wisconsin Democrats Urge New Talks on Labor Bill," March 7, 2011
  13. CNN, "Wisconsin gov: Democratic senator's border meeting idea 'ridiculous'," March 7, 2011
  14. Talking Points Memo, "Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return," March 6, 2011
  15. CNN, "E-mails: Wisconsin governor offers concessions on budget bill," March 8, 2011
  16. 16.0 16.1 Miami-Herald, "Wisconsin Republicans bypass Democrats on union bill," March 9, 2011
  17. Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Senate advances collective bargaining changes; Democrats to return after Assembly vote," March 9, 2011
  18. Wisconsin State Journal, "Judge strikes down Walker's collective bargaining law, case moves to state Supreme Court," May 26, 2011
  19. Wisconsin Reporter, "Judge: Collective bargaining bill violated open meetings law," May 26, 2011
  20. Shorewood Patch, "UPDATE: Unions Sue to Block Supreme Court's Reinstatement of Controversial Budget Repair Bill," June 14, 2011
  21. The Capitol Times, "Bill would require Wisconsin telecom companies to maintain land lines," August 9, 2013
  22. State Legislature, "Kathleen Vinehout Legislation," accessed May 6, 2014
  23. State Legislature, "Bill 70," accessed May 6, 2014
  24. State Legislature, "Bill 129," accessed May 6, 2014
  25. Campaign website, "Kathleen Vinehout," accessed May 6, 2014
  26. Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin 2014 fall primary election results," accessed August 12, 2014
  27. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "2014 Partisan Primary Candidates," accessed June 19, 2014
  28. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidates Registered by Office," June 11, 2014
  29. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Canvass Results for 2014 General Election," December 1, 2014
  30. Wisconsin Public Radio News, "Kathleen Vinehout Outlines Strategy For Gubernatorial Campaign," November 5, 2013
  31. Senator Kathleen Vinehout, "Senator Vinehout Statement on Not Running for Governor This Year," January 23, 2014
  32. Chicago Tribune, "Walker, Barrett begin sprint to historic vote," May 9, 2012
  33. WTAQ, "Dem State Sen. Vinehout announces bid for Governor in possible recall," February 8, 2012
  34. Wisconsin State Journal, "GOP's fake Democrats for recall primaries named," April 5, 2012
  35. WTAQ, "Recall elections officially ordered against Gov. Walker, 5 other GOP lawmakers," March 30, 2012
  36. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidates Registered by Office, 2010," July 13, 2010
  37. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Official 2010 Primary election results," accessed April 25, 2014
  38. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Official 2010 General election results," accessed April 25, 2014
  39. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "November 2010 General Election Recounts," accessed May 6, 2014
  40. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Notice of Recount and Petition for the Office of the 31st State Senate District," November 9, 2010
  41. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Official 2006 General election results," accessed April 25, 2014
  42. Follow the Money, "2006 contributions," accessed May 6, 2014
  43., "Vinehout, Kathleen," accessed June 5, 2013
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