Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Robin Vos Timeline

Robin Vos Timeline

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has emerged as the most powerful Republican in state government after the midterm election. Here’s how he got there:

1850s: Relatives settle in Racine County, where they work as dairy farmers.

1968: Born in the city of Burlington in Racine County.

1986: Graduates from Burlington High School.

1989-1991: Attends UW-Whitewater, and is appointed a student representative on the UW Board of Regents by Tommy Thompson. While there his roommate is future White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. He graduates with a double major in political science and public relations.

1991: Works as a legislative assistant for state Rep. Jim Ladwig from Racine County. Also works for Bonnie Ladwig, Jim’s successor.

1994: Named congressional district director for Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

1994: Elected a Racine County Board Supervisor, serving for 10 years.

Robin Vos on the Racine County Board

Robin Vos, shown in November 2000, served on the Racine County Board from 1994 until 2004.

1996: Purchases Rojos Popcorn in Burlington.

Robin Vos owns popcorn company

In addition to running the Wisconsin Assembly, Rep. Robin Vos owns Rojo's Popcorn in Burlington.

2004: Meets second wife Samantha Schmitt during the George W. Bush campaign. They marry in California in August 2008.

June 2004: Announces intent to run for the Assembly District 63 seat. He runs unopposed, winning the seat in November.

August 2005: Leads Republican lawmakers in calling for halving the gas tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 as part of a gas tax holiday.

November 2006: Holds his Assembly seat by defeating Democrat Tim Daley.

2007: Votes to create the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board.

Robin Vos and Reince Priebus meet John McCain

State Rep. Robin Vos, left, and then state Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, middle, greet Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., after an economic summit at Bucyrus International in South Milwaukee in April 2008. Vos and Priebus were college roommates at UW-Whitewater.

June 2008: Endorses Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.

November 2008: Wins another two-year term defeating Democrat Linda Flashinski.

Robin Vos moves into his new office

Rep. Robin Vos pushes a chair to his new office after Republicans reclaimed the majority in December 2010. Vos is looking to add more staff in the new year as legislative Republicans draft a budget to counter Gov.-elect Tony Evers'.

November 2010: After winning an uncontested race for his seat, named a co-chairman of the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee.

February-May 2011: Becomes a key player during debate of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill, later known as Act 10, which severely weakened public sector unions.

Robin Vos debates with Mark Pocan

State Rep. Robin Vos talks across the aisle to Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, in the state Assembly chamber during the contentious legislative debate over public-sector collective bargaining in February 2011. Pocan, now a member of Congress, called Vos "one of the three smartest leaders that I saw in action" at the state Capitol.

2011: Named American Legislative Exchange Council state chairman for Wisconsin, and helps push an ALEC sponsored voter ID law through the Assembly. Co-sponsors a bill repealing same-day voter registration.

Vos encounters Capitol protest

Protesters shout at Rep. Robin Vos as he leaves the Assembly chamber at the Wisconsin Capitol during the February 2011 debate over the collective bargaining law changes known as Act 10.

2012: Authors and helps pass a bill that would change the recall law to limit its use to crimes and malfeasance. The legislation dies in the Senate.

August 2012: Legally separates from wife, agreeing to pay her $250,000 over five years plus other expenses in exchange for her not speaking publicly about their marriage and not changing her Facebook marital status until after the 2012 election.

October 2012: Racine County Sheriff’s Department investigates a voter fraud complaint against his estranged wife who lived in Idaho. The complaint is dismissed because “she was out of the state for temporary purposes with an intent to return.”

November 2012: After winning re-election over Democrat Kelley Albrecht, is named speaker of the Assembly by a unanimous voice vote.

December 2012: As incoming Assembly Speaker appoints Democrats to co-lead two of the body’s 44 standing committees.

Robin Vos sworn in as Assembly Speaker

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, left, is sworn in by Justice David Prosser in January 2013. Jan. 7, 2013. Vos served as chairman of the powerful Joint Finance Committee before becoming speaker in 2013.

March 2014: Calls for removal of state Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, amid sexual harassment allegations.

October 2014: Says Kevin Kennedy, head of Wisconsin’s elections agency, has to go.

November 2014: Defeats Bryn Biemeck in the Republican primary, and is re-elected to another term, defeating Democrat Andy Mitchell in the general election.

July 2015: In the face of withering criticism, is forced to retreat from a provision he drafted and added to the state budget that would have gutted the state’s open records law.

February 2016: Pushes his school voucher proposal, that limits the amount of property taxes school districts can raise.

Robin Vos at the Scott Walker inaugural

Rep. Peter Barca, second from left, Rep. Robin Vos, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Tyler August attend the second inauguration of Gov. Scott Walker in January 2015.

2016 presidential primary: Endorses Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president. After Rubio drops out of race, endorses Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

November 2016: Defeats Democrat Andy Mitchell in the Assembly District 63 election.

Robin Vos apologized for calling conservative GOP senators 'terrorists'

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, left, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, discuss ongoing state budget deliberations during a press conference in the Senate Parlor of the State Capitol in July 2015. At one point Vos apologized for calling three conservative senators holding up the budget process "terrorists."

February 2017: Uses taxpayer money to charter state plane and fly with two other Republican lawmakers to Ohio.

August 2017: Takes a free trip with lobbyists to London paid for by the conservative GOPAC Education Fund.

September 2017: After attending a leadership summit in France paid for by the National Conference of State Legislatures, marries Michelle Litjens, a former state lawmaker, in Italy.

October 2017: Apologizes for calling three Republican senators “terrorists” after they struck a last-second budget deal with Walker.

December 2017: Along with Republican legislative leaders, calls for the resignations of state Elections and Ethics officials.

April 2018: Announces he will not run for the 1st Congressional District seat vacated by Paul Ryan.

November 2018: After defeating Democrat Joel Jacobsen, reveals effort to curtail the governor’s powers during a lame-duck session, before Gov.-elect Tony Evers takes office.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Badger Sports

Breaking News