By Mrinal Gokhale
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that former State Representative Tamara Grigsby died of health complications on March 15, 2016 at age 41.
She had battled cancer a few years ago, but Parisi said it is unclear exactly what caused her sudden death.
Grigsby represented the 18th Assembly District from 2005 to 2013, working on children’s issues and opposing collective bargaining.
Grigsby was a former social worker and adjunct professor at UW-Milwaukee, Cardinal Stritch and Carroll College. Grigsby started her politics career when she succeeded Senator Lena Taylor in 2005 and helped establish the Department of Children and Families.
Some of her other accomplishments while in the Wisconsin legislature include opposing Act 10 which eliminates collective bargaining for most public workers.
She was most recently appointed as the director of the new Dane County Department of Equity and Inclusion. County Executive Parisi also worked with her when she was his outreach coordinator.
Senator Taylor released a statement on the day of Grigsby’s passing saying, “So enamored by her passion and commitment to the well-being of Milwaukee’s children, I was proud that she was my successor in the Assembly.
Quickly immersing herself in the role, Tamara’s catalytic work lives on in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Wisconsin’s Young Star program. Working alongside her, in an effort to place juvenile corrections within DCF, she foresaw the problems we are experiencing at Lincoln Hills today.”
Mayor Tom Barrett was also one of the first to release a statement on Tuesday.
“Tamara was an exceptional advocate for families and children and a fierce defender of Milwaukee and our public schools.
She consistently championed the rights of the poor and compassionately argued for fair and equal treatment for all our citizens,” Barrett said.
Some others to give statements expressing their sorrow were Rep. JoCasta Zamarippa, Senator Ron Johnson, Rep. Latoya Johnson and Democratic Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling.