Former Wisconsin State Assembly member Tamara Grigsby has died unexpectedly at the age of 41.
Grigsby represented Milwaukee in the Assembly from 2005 through 2013. She later served in the office of Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and was most recently appointed as the director of the new Dane County Department of Equity and Inclusion.
“Words cannot express our sorrow over Tamara’s passing or our respect for the life she lived,” Parisi said in a statement. “Tamara was a special human being whose sole motivation in life was to make a difference in the lives of others – a goal at which she excelled. She was a public servant to be emulated, but more than that she was our friend, and we will miss her so.”
“She was a great leader,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “She was instrumental in our racial and social justice work and the creation of the new Department of Equity and Inclusion, and the work of that department will certainly be her legacy.”
She was hospitalized and treated for cancer in 2011, but returned to the legislature in 2012.
Grigsby graduated from Madison Memorial High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She taught at UW-Milwaukee, Carroll University and Cardinal Stritch University. She was a social worker and family counselor in addition to her government service.