|Wisconsin State Senate District 31|
|2007 - Present|
|January 3, 2015|
|Years in position||7|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 2, 2010|
|Next general||November 4, 2014|
|Bachelor's||Southern Illinois University, 1980|
|Associate's||LincolnLand Community College, 1992|
|Master's||Saint Louis University, 1982|
|Ph.D.||University of Illinois, Springfield, 1987|
|Place of birth||Albany, NY|
- 1 Issue positions
- 2 Committee assignments
- 3 Legislative walkout
- 4 Elections
- 5 Sponsored legislation
- 6 Campaign donors
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Vinehout's professional experiences include researcher/quality assurance specialist; organic farmer; nursing assistant; health care manager; education director; and professor at University of Illinois, Springfield.
Vinehout earned a BS in education from Southern Illinois University; MS in public health, Saint Louis University; PhD from University of Illinois, Springfield; and AD in Agriculture from LincolnLand Community College. She and her husband, Douglas Kane, have one child; Nathan.
Sen. Vinehout briefly lists the following on her campaign website as her goals:
- 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.
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|
At the beginning of the 2011 legislative session, Vinehout served on the following committees:
|Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2011|
|• Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education|
|• Financial Institutions and Rural Issues|
At the beginning of the 2009 legislative session, Vinehout served on the following committees:
|Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2009|
|• Agriculture and Higher Education, Chair|
|• Children and Families and Workforce Development|
|• Economic Development|
|• Public Health, Senior Issues, Long-Term Care, and Job Creation|
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. 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.
Senator Vinehout talks about the current problems with health care, the economy and schools
- See also: Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin (2012)
Recall petitions were turned in on January 17, 2012 and certified on March 30. Vinehout declared her candidacy on February 8. She faced Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, Douglas La Follette and protest candidate Gladys Huber in the primary on May 8. Hariprasad "Hari" Trivedi is running as an independent.
|Wisconsin Governor Recall - Democratic Primary, 2012|
|Doug La Follette||2.9%||19,497|
|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. 
|Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 (2010) General Election|
|Kathleen Vinehout (D)||30,314||50.27%|
|Ed Thompson (R)||29,911||49.61%|
|Wisconsin Senate, District 31 Democratic Primary (2010)|
|Kathleen Vinehout (D)||7,251||99.78 %|
Kathleen Vinehout raised $182,848 for her campaign, while Ron Brown, incumbent, raised $281,694.
|Wisconsin State Senate, District 31 (2006)|
|Kathleen Vinehout (D)||31,895|
|Ron Brown (R)||29,890|
Recent legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Sen. Vinehout includes
- A bill modifying how dependents may be covered under health insurance
- A bill creating court presumption criteria regarding the privilege of self defense
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.
|Kathleen Vinehout's Campaign Contribution History|
|2012||Governor of Wisconsin||$119,860|
|2010||Wisconsin State Senate, District 31||$186,628|
|2008||Wisconsin State Senate, District 31||$22,085|
|2006||Wisconsin State Senate, District 31||$182,848|
|Grand Total Raised||$511,421|
2012Vinehout 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|
|Bank Of Alma||$6,500|
|Total Raised in 2012||$119,860|
|Source:Follow the Money|
2010Vinehout won re-election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $186,628.
|Wisconsin State Senate 2010 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Kathleen Vinehout's campaign in 2010|
|Peterson, Scott W||$2,000|
|Wisconsin Realtors Association||$1,000|
|Total Raised in 2010||$186,628|
|Source:Follow the Money|
2008Vinehout was not up for election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $22,085.
|Wisconsin State Senate 2008 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Kathleen Vinehout's campaign in 2008|
|Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin||$2,000|
|Whelan, Judith R||$1,000|
|Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives||$1,000|
|Wisconsin State Council of Carpenters||$750|
|Total Raised in 2008||$22,085|
|Source:Follow the Money|
2006Vinehout won election to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Vinehout raised a total of $182,848.
|Wisconsin State Senate 2006 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Kathleen Vinehout's campaign in 2006|
|Wisconsin Democratic Party||$2,004|
|United Northeast Educators||$2,000|
|State Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte of Wisconsin||$1,733|
|Rottier, Daniel A||$1,300|
|Total Raised in 2006||$182,848|
|Source:Follow the Money|
- Sen. Vinehout's Wisconsin State Legislature website
- Project Vote Smart legislative profile
- project Vote Smart biographical profile
- Campaign contributions: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006
- Sen. Vinehout's campaign website
- Kathleen Vinehout for Governor Facebook page
- Project Vote Smart - Senator Vinehout
- Campaign website
- 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
- Chicago Tribune, "Walker, Barrett begin sprint to historic vote," May 9, 2012
- WTAQ, "Dem State Sen. Vinehout announces bid for Governor in possible recall," February 8, 2012
- Wisconsin State Journal, "GOP's fake Democrats for recall primaries named," April 5, 2012
- WTAQ, "Recall elections officially ordered against Gov. Walker, 5 other GOP lawmakers," March 30, 2012
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidates Registered by Office, 2010," July 13, 2010
- Official GAB primary results
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Official General Election 2010 Results
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board "November 2010 General Election Recounts"
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board "Notice of Recount and Petition for the Office of the 31st State Senate District", November 9, 2010
- Wisconsin State Election Results, 2006
- Follow the Money 2006
- Bill 70
- Bill 129
- followthemoney.org, "Vinehout, Kathleen," accessed June 5, 2013
|Wisconsin State Senate District 31
| Succeeded by|