Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ has submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Tony Evers, but will be continuing to work with the state as director of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Litigation Unit.
Her resignation from the county post takes effect at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 24.
Happ was elected as Jefferson County District Attorney on Nov. 4, 2008.
In her letter to Gov. Evers, Happ wrote, “It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Jefferson County and the State of Wisconsin over the past 11 years.”
Happ also said she was looking forward to continuing her public service to the State of Wisconsin in the Department of Justice.
Evers will be responsible for appointing Happ’s replacement.
Born and raised in Jefferson, the daughter of two teachers, Happ has said in past interviews that she was shown that a life of public service and giving to the community has rewards beyond measure.
Happ earned a bachelor’s degree in Russian and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994 and graduated from the UW-Madison Law School in 1998.
She returned to Jefferson to practice law at Monogue & Witt until starting her own firm in 2005. Also, prior to graduation, she served as a law clerk for the Jefferson County Circuit Court judges.
Throughout her career, including time in law school and as district attorney, Happ has been focused primarily on criminal law, handling juvenile delinquency matters, and felony, misdemeanor and criminal traffic charges.
In addition, while in her own practice, she had done quite a bit of work as guardian ad litem in CHIPS (Child In Need of Protection or Services) proceedings, typically in cases where the children are abused or neglected and even in guardianship proceedings.
She has said that it was that desire to protect and serve the people of Jefferson County that prompted her to run for district attorney in 2008, defeating Republican Peter Tempelis. She was re-elected after that.
Happ faced Republican Brad Schimel in the 2014 race to replace J.B. Van Hollen as state attorney general. It ended up being one of the closest and fiercest races for the position in years.
She also considered running for the state Supreme Court in in April 2019 to replace the retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is retiring. However, she did not do so.