MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has appointed Republican state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The appointment announced Friday makes Harsdorf the first woman to lead the agency. She will replace Ben Brancel, who retired in August.

Harsdorf, of River Falls, is resigning her northwestern Wisconsin state Senate seat on Friday and beginning the new job on Monday. Walker called a special election for Jan. 16, with a primary on Dec. 19 if necessary.

Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, announced Friday he will seek the seat.

The 61-year-old Harsdorf served in the Assembly from 1989 to 1999 and has been in the Senate since 2001. She is a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

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