Senator Luther Olsen was elected to the State Senate in 2004, after serving in the State Assembly for 10 years. He was born in Berlin, WI in 1951 and has been a lifelong resident of the 14th Senate District. Senator Olsen is a graduate of Berlin High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is married, has six children, eight grandchildren, and lives in the city of Ripon. He enjoys spending time on his Harley exploring Wisconsin and visiting family and friends across the state.
Current Legislative Assignments
In the 2019-20 legislative session, Senator Olsen serves as Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, Chair of the Education Committee, Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and as a member of the Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families Committee, and the Joint Legislative Council.
Senator Olsen serves on a number of state and national boards and committees. On a national level, Senator Olsen serves on the Executive Committee for the Education Commission of the States (ECS), and as a member of the Education Committee, the Education Policy Work Group, International Education Study Group, and the Agriculture Task Force for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). He is also a founding member of the Conservative Leaders for Education.
In addition, Senator Olsen serves on the Read to Lead Development Council, Wisconsin Education Communications Board, State Capitol and Executive Residence Board, State of WI Claims Board, DPI’s Equity Council and the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. Additionally, he is a board member of the University of WI Hospital & Clinics Authority (UWHCA) and serves on Finance, Audit, and Executive Committees for UWHCA.
Recent Awards Received
- Wisconsin Y State Alliance Legislative Champion Award
- Legislator of the Year from the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association
- Legislator of the Year from the Wisconsin County Constitutional Officers
- Legislator of the Year from the Wisconsin Public Health Association
- Friend of Family Medicine from the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians
- Outstanding Legislator Award from the Wisconsin Counties Association
- Building Wisconsin Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin
- Legislative Excellence Award from the Dairy Business Association
- Champion of Commerce from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
- Working for Wisconsin Award from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
- Friend of Towns Award from the Wisconsin Towns Association
Senator Olsen’s legislative interests have focused on education, local government, small businesses, and children. He is considered one of the most knowledgeable people in the legislature when it comes to the school aid formula and has authored a number of bills making adjustments to the school funding system to better meet the needs of school districts around the state. He has authored laws related to special education, truancy and teacher licensure, among many others. Senator Olsen was instrumental in the creation of the state’s Open Enrollment program and has championed high standards for schools and districts while working to give them the flexibility they need to succeed. He has advocated for businesses in his district by authoring laws relating to rental units, wineries, and mobile homes. Finally, he was the author of the state’s Graduated Driver’s License law, which changed the way teenagers get their driver’s license.