America's Longest-Serving Legislator, Fred Risser, Retires

By Will Kenneally

March 26, 2020 • South Central Region

FacebookRedditGoogle ClassroomEmail
Sen. Fred Risser speaks from the Senate floor Feb. 26, 2015.

Sen. Fred Risser speaks from the Senate floor Feb. 26, 2015.

Wisconsin’s, and the nation’s, longest-serving legislator Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, announced Thursday he will retire after serving 64 years in the state legislature. 

The 92-year-old was first elected to the Assembly in 1956, and won a Senate seat in 1962. According to a release from his office, Risser served under 13 different governors and is the last World War II veteran in any of the country’s legislative bodies.

Sen. Fred Risser sits down for an interview with Here & Now in his Capitol office Sept. 10, 2014.

Among those who would possibly fill the vacant seat, state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, announced Thursday as well that she would not seek re-election to the Assembly, nor to the Senate.

“There is still much more I want to accomplish on the long march to a more just, equitable society,” Taylor said in a statement. “I will continue to use all that I have learned throughout my career as an attorney, advocate and legislator to keep pressing towards that world.”

Another potential candidate to fill the seat, state Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, thanked Risser for his service. 

“As I continue to serve the people of the 78th Assembly District, I look forward to working closely with our next Senator,” she said in a statement. 

Three candidates already filed paperwork in their intention to face Risser: William Henry Davis III, Nada Elmikashfi, and Aisha Moe. They will force an August 11 primary for the heavily Democratic seat. 

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.