Kathleen Falk has spent her life making government listen to and work for citizens across Wisconsin.
Starting 35 years ago as an environmental attorney just out of law school, Falk fought so citizens all across this state could have clean air and water and open spaces in which to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. Falk was the voice for regular people and took on big, powerful interests in the courtroom and in the legislature, and won. Gov. Tommy Thompson may have eliminated the long-standing Office of the Public Intervener where Falk served for 12 years, but that didn’t stop her from fighting for what’s right.
Falk ran for political office 15 years ago to help move kids out of poverty and move families up the economic ladder. She was elected Dane County’s first woman County Executive in 1997 and was re-elected three more times and became the longest-serving executive in the county’s history. As the county executive for nearly half a million people, she balanced a budget every single year for 14 years. She controlled property taxes by setting priorities, reinventing government and making it more efficient.
After the market crashed four years ago and times were tight, Falk sat down with the county’s eight unions to negotiate savings three years in a row. By working together the result was $10 million in savings for taxpayers. Falk got the job done without attacking the people who drive the snowplows, the deputies and social workers who walk into dangerous homes, and those who care for the most frail and elderly.
During Falk’s historic length of service as county executive, her county enjoyed the strongest job-growth in the state. When people had big differences about how local communities should develop in response to the county’s fast-growing population, Falk brought all sides together, found solutions and got the job done.
Falk has balanced budgets and the capped property tax levies won her praise from across the political spectrum. Many of her signature initiatives were the result of highly acclaimed investments in human services that help children, low-income families, people with disabilities and seniors.
When Falk saw there were 10,000 children living in poverty, she created an innovative program that helped mothers and father get jobs – and keep them.
Falk has been recognized for her three decades of public serving and has received dozens of awards and recognitions from environmental groups, business interests, women's organizations, LGBT and equality advocates, advocates for the disabled, conservation groups, the American Legion and domestic violence support groups.
Falk was born in Milwaukee, grew up in Waukesha County and lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She attended UW-Waukesha for two years and then earned a B.A. in philosophy from Stanford University in 1973 and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1976. She is also a graduate of Harvard University's Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. Falk is married to former Democratic State Representative Peter Bock. She has one son, Eric Phillips, and is an avid baseball fan, bicyclist, hunter, and angler.
-Falk campaign website