Sarah Godlewski appointed to Secretary of State, replacing Doug La Follette

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers today announced he is appointing former State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to Secretary of State of Wisconsin. The appointment fills a vacancy created by Secretary of State Doug La Follette’s retirement, effective today, March 17. La Follette was first elected as Secretary of State in 1974 and then again in 1982, holding the office for 11 consecutive terms spanning more than 40 years.

In a constitutional office that has been held by fewer than 30 individuals since 1848, Godlewski will be only the third woman in Wisconsin state history to serve as Secretary of State. Glenn Wise made Wisconsin state history as the first woman to serve as Secretary of State when she was appointed by former Gov. Walter J. Kohler Jr. in 1955. Vel Phillips was the second woman to serve as Secretary of State — in 1978, she became the first woman ever to be elected to the position and the first African American elected to statewide office in Wisconsin.

Godlewski, who most recently served as Wisconsin State Treasurer from 2019 to 2023 before deciding not to seek re-election to the office, is no stranger to state constitutional office roles and responsibilities. In 2018, Godlewski led the fight to protect the constitutional office of the state treasurer and to “save the state’s fiscal watchdog” as a constitutional amendment abolishing the office altogether was set to be put before Wisconsin voters for final approval. The effort was ultimately rejected by more than 60% of Wisconsin voters in April 2018. Later that year, in November 2018, Godlewski was elected to the office she helped save, winning her first-ever campaign for public office.

Godlewski’s appointment is effective March 18 and will fill the remainder of La Follette’s four-year term ending in January 2027.