Rep. Dianne Hesselbein speaks during a celebration of the fifth anniversary of marriage equality at the City County Building in Madison in this file photo from 2019.

State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein will run for state Senate, she announced Thursday.

The Middleton Democrat has represented Wisconsin's 79th Assembly District since 2013. She will run for the 27th Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point.

"Throughout my time in the Legislature, I have been a champion for our veterans, children and environment," Hesselbein said in a statement. "During my time on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Board, Dane County Board and in the state Assembly, my priorities have always been the needs of those I serve and I look forward to continuing that progress in the state Senate."

Hesselbein, 50, said she will step down from her role as assistant minority leader, adding that it is "critical for (her) colleagues to have a leadership team in place that is solely focused on building a strong Assembly caucus for the next legislative session."

Hesselbein's announcement follows the news that Erpenbach, 60, won't seek reelection in 2022 after more than two decades representing the 27th Senate District, and that Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, will step down from his leadership post in January.

A Dane County native, Hesselbein attended La Follette High School, graduated from the the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and earned a master’s degree in religious studies at Edgewood College. She and her husband Bob, and their three children, live in Middleton.

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