Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma)
Senate District 31

Senator Kathleen Vinehout came to politics relatively late in her career after spending 10 years running the family dairy farm and the 10 years before that teaching health administration to college students.


In her first run for public office, she was elected in 2006 to the State Senate from Wisconsin’s 31st Senate District, a large, mostly rural district in the western part of the state. Senator Vinehout was re-elected in 2010 and is serving her second four-year term. In the Senate, she has worked to make health care affordable and create health insurance exchanges, bring more equity to school funding, keep consumer protection provisions in our telecommunication laws, and improve the efficiency of state government operations.

She is the ranking Democratic member of the Joint Committee on Audit and Vice-chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Senate Committee on Education; Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism; Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules; Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology; Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations; and Special Committee on Symposia Series on State Income Tax Reform Information.

Prior to being elected to office, Senator Vinehout was the primary operator of the family’s 50-cow dairy farm near Alma in Buffalo County. She was elected president of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association in Buffalo County and represented the district at statewide dairy meetings. Senator Vinehout and her family live on the farm, which is certified organic and produces hay and grain.

Before she and her husband, Douglas, started their dairy farm, Senator Vinehout directed both graduate and undergraduate programs in health administration at the University of Illinois at Springfield. For 10 years, she was a member of the faculty and taught in the Health Services Administration and Women’s Studies Programs.

Senator Vinehout earned a Masters of Public Health and a PhD in Health Services Research from St. Louis University. She holds an Associate Degree in agriculture and graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelors of Science in education.

Senator Vinehout currently serves on the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission and the Mississippi River Parkway Commission. She is a member of the Eau Claire, Tomah, Sparta and Alma Chambers of Commerce. For seven years she served as chair of the Democratic Party of Buffalo County and was honored in 2005 with the state-wide Eleanor Roosevelt Award for her work in grassroots organizing. She served on the Buffalo County Agricultural Fair Association Board and the Buffalo County Farm Bureau Board, and was a member of the Wisconsin Holstein Association.

Senator Vinehout is the eldest of five children. Both her parents served in the U.S. Air Force. Her father was a member of the Laborer’s Union and her mother a registered nurse.

Committee Assignments


Contact Senator Kathleen Vinehout

Phone: (608) 266-8546
District Phone: (877) 763-6636