Wisconsin's Green FireAmbassadors

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Kathleen Falk

Kathleen Falk

Kathleen Falk learned her love of land early, roaming the land in Southeastern Wisconsin. She started a conversation club when she was about 7 years old. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School, she was Co-director and General Counsel for a leading statewide environmental advocacy organization, then named Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, now called Clean Wisconsin. The WI Attorney General appointed her a Public Intervenor. As Assistant Attorney General, she was charged with protecting public rights in the state’s natural resources, a role in which she won groundbreaking litigation.

Falk was the first woman elected—and longest serving—Dane County Executive, in the second largest county in Wisconsin. As Dane County Executive, she prioritized initiatives to move families out of poverty, reforms to the criminal justice system and innovative land and water protections, such as a $30 million public lands acquisition program. Falk was President Obama’s appointee as Regional Director for the US Department of Health and Human Services, charged with serving the 52 million residents of the Great Lakes states, including connecting new health services to the many affected by the Flint, MI, water crisis.

Falk was named the Douglas Costle Chair at The Vermont Law School. She was also an instructor at the University of Wisconsin. Falk was the first woman to run for Governor in Wisconsin on a major party ticket. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her lifelong advocacy, including being inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.