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Rep. Taylor appointed to Karofsky's Dane Co. Court seat

Wisconsin Democratic state Rep. Chris Taylor, center, speaks in support of Gov. Tony Evers' plan to expand Medicaid as Sen. John Erpenbach, left, and Rep. Evan Goyke, listen Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Madison, Wis. Democrats opposed Republicans who were killing the governor's Medicaid proposal as they work on revising his two-year state budget. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
Wisconsin Democratic state Rep. Chris Taylor, center, speaks in support of Gov. Tony Evers' plan to expand Medicaid as Sen. John Erpenbach, left, and Rep. Evan Goyke, listen Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Madison, Wis. Democrats opposed Republicans who were killing the governor's Medicaid proposal as they work on revising his two-year state budget. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 9:30 AM CDT
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A five-term Assembly member from the Madison area and one-time public policy director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been tapped for a spot on the Dane County Circuit Court. State Rep. Chris Taylor will take over the slot being vacated this fall when current Judge Jill Karofsky ascends to the state Supreme Court, Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday morning.

“It is more critical than ever that the judicial branch ensure equal access to justice for all in an impartial, independent forum. As a judge, I will use my life-time experiences of working for fairness and equity to help accomplish that result,” Taylor said in the statement announcing her appointment.

The 52-year-old Taylor was first elected to the state Assembly in 2011 when she ran for the seat that was held by now-Dane County Executive Joe Parisi when he assumed his current role. According to the statement from the Evers Administration, the California-native, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School, co-authored more than 250 bills and resolutions, highlighting one measure that mandated independent investigations into law enforcement-involved deaths.

“Chris Taylor’s experience as an attorney and a legislator make her uniquely qualified to be a circuit court judge,” Judge Karofsky said about her successor. “She understands how laws are created and how they impact real people. She will be a tremendous asset to the Dane County bench.”

Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Taylor served as the public policy director for both Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, the Evers Administration detailed, adding that as a private attorney before that she focused on family law and civil litigation.

“Chris Taylor has devoted her life to fighting for people’s legal rights, having worked as an attorney in private practice, a nonprofit leader, and most recently in the Wisconsin Legislature,” Gov. Evers said. “This passion for justice and the law will make her an excellent addition to the Dane County Circuit Court.”

State Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, who represents northeaster Outagamie Co. and the Town of Maple Grove reacted to Taylor’s appointment by citing a popular internet meme: Imagining himself saying Dane Couny judges can’t possibly get more liberal; to which Evers would supposedly respond, “hold my beer.”

Taylor had already said she was not planning on running for a sixth term to the state Assembly. She will take over for Karofsky when the latter joins the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 1.

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