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Crawford Co. native and former Gov. Patrick Lucey dies at 96

| May 13, 2014 | 0 Comments
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Political leaders from both sides of the aisle are offering praise for a former
Wisconsin Governor, following news of his death over the weekend.

The family of Patrick Lucey says the former governor and U.S. Ambassador died Saturday at the Milwaukee Catholic Home, following a brief illness. Lucey was 96.

Lucey, a Democrat, was elected to Pat Lucey - Ferryville 4the state’s first four year term for governor in 1970. He was re-elected in 1974, although he left midway through that term to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico under then-President Jimmy Carter. He also ran for vice president of the United States in 1980 as an independent.

State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison), one of the few lawmakers still serving in the Legislature who was in office when Lucey led the state, said the former governor “will be remembered as one who was instrumental in advocating a progressive Democratic Party in Wisconsin.”

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate called Lucey “a true Wisconsin statesmen, the kind that’s practically become extinct in this era of divisiveness and political unrest.”

Governor Scott Walker recalled seeing Lucey last summer during the 40th anniversary of Kikkoman in Fontana. Walker offered thoughts and prayers for Lucey’s family, saying he “was a dedicated public servant who loved Wisconsin.”

Lucey, who was born in La Crosse, grew up in Ferryville and graduated from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien.

His best known accomplishments in office included the formation of the University of Wisconsin System, an overhaul of the state shared tax formula, the strengthening of ethics laws, mental health treatment reforms, and progressive land conservation initiatives.

On Oct. 2 2013, then 95-year-old Lucey visited Prairie du Chien and Ferryville, where he was joined by community members of the area, elected officials, family and friends, for the unveiling of the “Governor Patrick Lucey Highway” along the scenic Great River Road. The commemorative roadway extends along State Highway 35 in Crawford County from the village of Ferryville to the city of Prairie du Chien.

At the unveiling, Lucey’s son, David, said his father was honored by the dedication, saying, “The ride along the Great River Road is the most beautiful in the state—and perhaps the whole nation.”


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