Gov. Evers Appoints Sarah Godlewski to Secretary of State
Secretary La Follette retiring after serving more than 40 years in office
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.
“Secretary of State La Follette’s retirement after more than 40 years of state service leaves an incredibly important role to fill, and I want to thank him for his years of dedication to the people of Wisconsin throughout his long career,” said Gov. Evers. “In a critical position that has seen no turnover in decades, maintaining continuity with a leader who’s prepared and committed to fulfilling this office’s constitutional obligations could not be more important—and there’s no one more uniquely qualified or better suited for the job than Sarah.”
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 and soundly rejected by more than 60 percent 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.
The Wisconsin State Treasurer is a constitutional officer charged with helping manage state trust funds, executing certain financial instruments and checks, and promoting transparency within the unclaimed property program. As state treasurer, Godlewski worked to revitalize the treasurer’s role as the state’s chief financial officer, pushing to restore confidence in the office’s fiscal management and reinstate the responsibilities and powers that had been removed or transferred as part of the decades-long effort to slowly dismantle the office. In addition, Godlewski also helped launch a homeownership network designed to empower Wisconsinites to buy and stay in their homes and advocated for creating a child savings account program called 401(K)ids.
In 2019, Gov. Evers also appointed Godlewski to chair the Governor’s Task Force on Retirement Security, created by Executive Order #45, charged with developing new strategies to address growing concerns for Wisconsin’s aging population and lack of retirement savings and security, identify barriers to retirement savings and planning, and promote awareness about financial sustainability and solvency. The Task Force on Retirement Security’s final report is available here.
“It was a privilege to serve the people of Wisconsin as state treasurer for four years, and I am humbled that Gov. Evers has called upon me to serve as secretary of state,” Godlewski said. “To become just the third woman in our state’s history to hold this office is the honor of a lifetime. I know how important this role is and my responsibilities are, and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
The daughter of two public school teachers, Godlewski is a fifth-generation Wisconsinite, born and raised in Eau Claire, who learned at an early age the importance of public service. Prior to her time in state government, Godlewski worked for almost a decade at the Pentagon. She was co-founder of MaSa Partners, an impact investment firm that funds early-stage businesses; and a co-founder of WE Capital Fund, which empowers female entrepreneurs through financing opportunities. Godlewski, in 2022, ran for the U.S. Senate, advocating for policies critical for Wisconsin families, including reproductive healthcare, affordable child care, and paid family leave.
Godlewski’s appointment is effective March 18, 2023, and will fill the remainder of La Follette’s four-year term ending in January 2027. La Follette’s retirement letter is available here. Additional biographical details for La Follette and Godlewski are available in the 2021-22 Wisconsin Blue Book available here.
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