Carl Otte Papers, 1970-1986


Carl Otte, former Democratic legislator from Wisconsin, was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on June 24, 1923. He attended Sheboygan Christian School and graduated from Central High School, also in Sheboygan. From 1943 to 1945 he served in the 478th Ordnance Evaluation Company in Europe. In 1949 Otte married the former Ethel Dorothy Braatz, and they are the parents of four children.

Among the Wisconsin legislators of his era Otte was unusual for his strong labor background. During over twenty years as an employee of the Almira Leather Company he was an active member of Local 325 of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America. For several years he was also chairman and a member of the local's negotiating and grievance committees. Also well known for his musical activities, Otte was a member of Local 95 of the American Federation of Musicians, and he represented both locals on the Sheboygan County Central Labor Council. As a member of the council, he served as chairman of the COPE committee.

Otte's background also includes a strong involvement in local government. He served as a member of the Sheboygan Police and Fire Commission and served six years on the Sheboygan County Board of Supervisors (1962-1968).

Otte first sought election to the Wisconsin Assembly in a special election in 1967. Re-elected seven times, he served on numerous committees including several terms on the Joint Finance Committee and three terms as its vice-chair. In 1975 he chaired its subcommittee on nursing home reimbursement. In 1971 he was elected vice-chair of the Committee on Revisions, Repeals, and Uniform Laws. In 1977 he served as vice-chair of the Legislative Council's Special Committee on the Care of the Mentally Ill. During the 1979 and 1981 sessions he served as chairman of the Migratory Labor Council.

Other committee assignments while in the Assembly included the Legislative Council's Special Committee on the Occupational Safety and Health Act (1971); the Joint Legislative Committee to Visit State Property and the Legislative Council's Special Committee on Employe Protection in Business Closings (1973); the Legislative State-Supported Programs Study and Advisory Committee, the Joint Legislative Committee on Institution Closing, the Legislative Council's Alternate Care Placements Study Committee, and the Governor's Committee on Migratory Labor (1975); and the Legislative Council's Special Committee on the UW System Enrollment Funding Formula.

In 1982 Otte was elected to the State Senate. In that house he served as chair of the Transportation Committee and the Legislative Council's Special Committee on Primary Prevention, and he was a member of the Legislative Council's special committees on municipal and collective bargaining laws and on regulation of nursing homes.

In 1986 Otte was defeated in an attempt for reelection in the Democratic primary. Since leaving the Legislature he has worked as a consultant on transportation issues for Gary Goyke and Associates.