A Milwaukee lawyer just named to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents by Gov. Scott Walker has been a frequent contributor to his campaign fund, donating $9,639.68 since 2010.
Tracey Klein, a shareholder at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, made seven contributions to Walker totaling $7,439.68 in the months running up to his 2014 reelection alone, according to the online campaign finance database of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Klein also has contributed campaign funds to other conservative Republicans.
She donated $100 last month to Rebecca Bradley, Walker's appointee to the Wisconsin Supreme Court who is running for election in April, and has also given financial support to Attorney General Brad Schimel, and state Sen. Alberta Darling.
All told, Klein has donated $16,489.69 to Republican candidates over the past 20 years. She sent $100 to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2010, when he unsuccessfully ran against Walker for governor.
Klein specializes in representing hospitals and health care systems across the state and region. She also is co-chair of her law firm’s government relations group.
Klein told the Badger Herald this week that she looks forward “to being a part of (UW’s) wonderful legacy of providing students with a top-notch education.”
Klein said her focus will be on educating students and making sure they get a “cost-effective value” for their tuition dollars.
To do that, it’s important to retain talented faculty so UW-Madison remains a top-tier research university and to continue monitoring the financial health across the university system, because the schools took a hit with the budget, she said.
“I have a lifelong love of learning, so I think the first thing you do is you have to learn about the system, and all of the different aspects and the needs of different students on different campuses,” Klein said.
Klein is one of three new regents whose appointments Walker announced last week to replace regents whose terms are expiring. Their appointments are subject to confirmation by the state Senate. If all take their seats, as expected, Walker will have appointed all but three members of the 18-member board.
The current term of regent Mark Bradley, who was appointed to his first seven-year term by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2003, expires in May 2017. The term of Edmund Moneydeeds, appointed by Doyle in 2010, expires in May, 2017. Tony Evers has served as a regent since 2009 as an ex-officio member because of his elected office of state superintendent of public instruction.
Newly appointed regent Bryan Steil of Janesville is corporate counsel at Regal Beloit Corporation, a multinational manufacturing company with several locations in Wisconsin, according to a press release on the Walker appointments. Steil is a former congressional legislative assistant to and long-time family friend of Paul Ryan, now Republican Speaker of the House.
Lisa Erickson of Osceola was appointed to fill the non-traditional student slot on the Board of Regents. The mother of four, Erickson is a crisis pregnancy counselor at Tri-County Life Care Center, an affiliate of Minnesota-based network TLC Options for Women. The organization has long “warned not only of the horror of abortion but also the dangers of contraception and promiscuity,” according to its website.
Erickson attends UW-River Falls, where she is pursuing a degree in journalism. Erickson previously owned Wild Chow Catering, which featured wild game fare, and hosted a TV cooking segment.