Friends of former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager are remembering her as a person who cared about ordinary people and making their lives better. Lautenschlager had been diagnosed with cancer and died early Saturday. She was 62.
Tom Kitchen of Fond du Lac met Lautenschlager when he was running for the State Assembly in 1976. They developed a strong relationship. He worked on her campaigns for the State Assembly in 1988, Congress, and State Attorney General. Kitchen said she was about representing people who didn’t have a voice in government.
“She always had a deep commitment to social justice, to issues that affected the poor and people who she thought didn’t have a voice in government and that was her deep commitment throughout her life,” he said.
Paul Czisny was a friend and Lautenschlager’s neighbor in Fond du Lac. She was the treasurer for the Democratic Party of Fond du Lac County when he served as its chair.
“I think as far as the local party she really was the heart and soul of it. She is the one that had the ideas; she is the one that had the drive,” said Czisney, who was also mentored by Lautenschlager in his campaigns for state Assembly. “She’s the one that really inspired everyone and I think to the state party as well she was such an incredible progressive force. “
Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, announced her death in a press release: “Peg was so down-to-earth and real, it could be easy for some to overlook how brilliant she was,” said Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, (D-Oshkosh) in a press release. “I will carry with me the lessons I learned from Peg throughout my career. Wisconsin has lost a giant and she will be dearly missed.”
Lautenschlager was a native of Fond du Lac. She was elected Attorney General when Jim Doyle ran for Governor in 2002, the first woman to hold the office. She lost a reelection bid in 2006.
Prior to being elected attorney general, Lautenschlager served as district attorney for Winnebago County, and in the state Assembly. She narrowly lost a congressional election to Tom Petri in 1993. More recently she served on the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.