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Former Republican Lawmaker to Leave the Circus World
Steve Freese will lead the Farm Bureau Federation.

Steve Freese, the state legislator
tapped to lead the Circus World museum and complex in Baraboo, Wis., out of financial distress, is now leaving the organization to take the chief administrator post at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, a position with far greater job security.

This spring, the state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee rejected a plan by Gov. Scott Walker to prop up Circus World using state funds. The museum and show grounds, built in the town that formerly served as home base for the Ringling Brothers Circus, belongs to the Wisconsin Historical Society, which has handed over management to a nonprofit, the Circus World Museum Foundation, that's responsible for attracting visitors to the town of about 12,000 people.

The Farm Bureau Federation says Freese "still helps manage a farm near Hazel Green that has been in his family since 1874." For its part, Circus World credits him with increasing admissions by 37 percent and notes that "recent actions of the governor and the Wisconsin state Legislature have been challenging for Mr. Freese."

Freese will stay on at the state's most colorful museum until mid-August as Circus World looks for a new, ahem, ringleader.

(wagon photo from the Library of Congress)

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POSTED 1/12/2015