Longest-serving legislator in U.S. won’t seek re-election to Wisconsin Senate

92-year-old Sen. Fred Risser is in 64th year in Legislature
Risser Retires
In this June 14, 2011, file photo, State Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, speaks in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol in Madison,(Associated Press file photo)

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — Wisconsin State Sen. Fred Risser, the longest-serving legislator in the United States, announced today that he won’t seek re-election.
The 92-year-old Madison Democrat is in his 64th year as a Wisconsin legislator, making him the longest-serving legislator in state and national history. He also is the last World War II veteran in remaining in any state legislature, as well as Congress, according to his office.
Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling praised Risser as a gentleman, scholar and statesmen in Wisconsin politics. … He is truly one of a kind.”
Risser, the architect of the state’s indoor smoking ban, “has been a clear and consistent voice for environmental issues, public education, the UW System and public health,” said Shilling, a La Crosse Democrat.

Jennifer Shilling


Included among Risser’s 244 bills signed into law included creating the Senate president as presiding officer of the State Senate.
“He remains today the only Democrat who has served as Senate president, presiding over the Chamber and its 33 members,” Shilling said.
Risser, a practicing attorney, is the fourth generation in his family to serve Dane County, following his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1956 and the State Senate in 1962.
His leadership roles have included Senate president, Senate president pro tempore, co-majority leader, minority leader and Assistant Minority Leader. He is a member of the Historical Society of Wisconsin’s Board of Curators and the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board.
Risser and his wife, Nancy, live across the street from the Capitol, a fact that prompted Shilling to observe, “I have no doubt he will continue to keep an eye on Wisconsin politics — just from a different vantage point.”