Born June 16, 1958; married; 1 child. B.S. with honors in education Southern Illinois U. 1980; M.P.H. St. Louis U. 1982; Ph.D. St. Louis U. 1987; A.D. in agriculture. Organic farmer. Former dairy farmer, university professor, health care manager. Member: Wis. Farmers Union; Wis. Farm Bureau Federation (fmr. bd. mbr., Buffalo Co.); Alma Chamber of Commerce; Democratic Party of Buffalo Co. (fmr. chp.); Andrew Blackfoot American Legion Auxiliary Post 129. Former member: Buffalo Co. Agricultural Fair Assn. (bd. mbr.); American Federation of Teachers (treas., Local 4100). Recipient: Wis. Farmers Union Friend of Farmers Union Award 2013; Wis. Congress of Parents and Teachers Joan Dykstra Friends of Children Award 2012; Wis. Aquaculture Assn. Friend of Wisconsin Aquaculture 2011; La Crosse Area Development Council Triangle of Achievement; AFSCME Council 40 Protector of Quality Services Award 2010; School Administrators Alliance Legislator of the Year 2010; Wis. Academy of Family Physicians Friend of Family Medicine; Wis. Grocers Assn. Friend of Grocers 2010; Wis. Crop Production Assn. Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award; Wis. Assn. of County Homes 2010 Outstanding Legislative Service Award; Wis. Troopers Assn. Legislator of the Year 2010; Wis. League of Conservation Voters Conservation Champion 2008; Wis. Assn. of PEG Channels Friend of Access 2008; Wis. Assn. of FFA Honorary State FFA Degree 2008; Pharmacy Soc. of Wis. Legislator of the Year 2008; Wis. Federation of Cooperatives Friend of Cooperatives 2008. Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission 2004-present.
Elected to Senate 2006; reelected 2010. Minority Caucus Vice Chairperson 2013, 2011; Majority Caucus Vice Chairperson 2009.