Senator Luther Olson

Longtime legislator Luther Olsen has announced he won’t be seeking another term in the Wisconsin Senate. The Ripon Republican said Monday that it’s time to let other people take charge in Madison.

Olsen was first elected to the Assembly in 1994, and to a Senate seat in 2004.

Olsen has been a long time advocate for education and children, and said his proudest work for the state was the state’s graduated licensing law, which helped reduce teen driving crashes and deaths by 15 percent.

“The kids that already had their license didn’t care, but the ones that were going to go through this and just getting ready to go through this, they were not happy with me. And I said ‘well, when you get old enough to vote, vote me out of office. But at least you’ll be alive to vote.'”

Olson noted that state Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) has already announced her candidacy for the seat in Senate District 14. “Who else is going to run? I don’t know. There’s time for that to happen.”

Olson has generally been viewed as a moderate Republican during his 26 years at the Capitol.  “I’ve been getting a lot of calls and text message and emails from folks saying ‘You know, you were a statesman, you listened to people, you used your judgement, and we’re really going to miss you.'”

Olsen says he viewed his time in office as a sacred duty to the people of his district. “In this job you’re a delegate and a trustee. As a delegate, when you have that role, you have to vote as your constituents want. And you better do that.”



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