|David E. Clarenbach|
|Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 78th district
January 1975 – January 1993
|Succeeded by||Tammy Baldwin|
September 26, 1953 |
St. Louis, Missouri
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin, Madison|
David E. Clarenbach (born September 26, 1953) is a Wisconsin Democratic politician who served nine terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly. He represented the 78th Assembly District in Madison from 1975 to 1993.
He is the son of National Organization for Women co-founder Kathryn F. Clarenbach and was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated in Madison public schools, and studied politics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1971 to 1976.
He was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors in 1972, at age 18. In 1974, he was elected a Madison alderman, before being elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly that same year at the age of 21, succeeding fellow Democrat Edward Nager. In 1983 he was elected Speaker pro tempore of the Assembly. His legislative papers are on deposit with the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Clarenbach did not seek re-election in 1992 but ran for Congress in Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district. In the Democratic primary election held on September 8, Clarenbach faced Ada E. Deer and lost with 31,961 votes (40.1%) to Deer's 47,777 (59.9%). Deer went on to lose to incumbent Republican Scott L. Klug in the general election.
Sexuality and political office
Clarenbach is now openly gay, although he was not open during his political career in Madison. He told a reporter in 2001, "It was a different era. There were no openly gay elected officials... Even in the liberal stronghold of Madison, it would have done more than raise eyebrows. It would’ve hampered a person’s electability. Yet I think it’s safe to say that every member of the Legislature and every member of the Capitol press corps knew I was gay.... The general consensus was not to intrude into one’s personal life." He served as a mentor for fellow gay Assemblyman Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee.
After public office
- "Clarenbach, David E." Dictionary of Wisconsin History
- "David E. Clarenbach papers, 1974-1992"
- "Madison's Tammy Baldwin Running For State Assembly Seat". The Wisconsin Light. 1992-06-25. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
- Chandler, Kurt. "Out: Politician Tim Carpenter goes on the record about his sexuality." Milwaukee Magazine 8/1/2001
- Rimmerman, Craig A. From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002; p. 42