Susan Happ

JEFFERSON -- Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ said this week she is considering running in the spring of 2019 for Wisconsin's Supreme Court to fill a seat that is to be vacated by longtime and retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Happ, 46, of Jefferson, aligns herself with the Democratic Party and in 2014 lost her bid for state Attorney General to Brad Schimmel. Happ is active in the county's Democratic party, having emceed the February President's Day Dinner the past two years in Jefferson.

Second District Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn and Appeals Court Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer are also considering runs for Abrahamson's seat along with Happ. Happ unseated Jefferson County's Republican district attorney in 2008, but did not face an opponent in 2012 or 2016.

Happ has never served as a judge, but she said in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal that she would be "a candidate who can restore confidence in our elected officials, and especially the Supreme Court."

The State Journal reported Happ described her political views as "up the middle and to the left." She said she has run as a Democrat because she agrees with the party on social issues such as equal rights for the LGBT community, but she also supports some conservative positions such as concealed carry of firearms.

She said she hopes the next Supreme Court election will focus on issues and records, "rather than what we've seen in the last several elections, which is personal attacks and the influence of money and special interests."

The State Journal reported that, although she lacks judicial experience, she emphasized her 10 years of experience in private practice handling civil, criminal, juvenile and probate cases. She noted Abrahamson, the longest-serving and first female Supreme Court justice in state history, had not been a judge before being appointed to the state's highest court.

If Happ were chosen to serve on the Supreme Court, it would not be Jefferson County's first direct link with that panel. In late 2016, former Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick, now retired from that post, became the director of state courts. He works closely with the state Supreme Court in that position.

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