ACLU of Wisconsin names Ott president

Former Fair Wisconsin director returns to Milwaukee

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Christopher Ott has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, which is based in Milwaukee.


Ott, 46, will succeed Chris Ahmuty, who retired at the end of 2016, in late March. The Milwaukee native has spent the past 10 years as communications director for the ACLU of Massachusetts in Boston. Previously, Ott was executive director of Madison-based LGBT civil rights organization Fair Wisconsin for four years. Ott also has worked as a freelance writer and an editor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University.

At the ACLU of Wisconsin, Ott will work to address discrimination in education, housing, policing and voting, as well as against LGBT people and juveniles in detention centers, while promoting free speech and other rights and initiatives.

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“At a time when Americans across the political spectrum worry about threats to civil liberties and civil rights, the chance to work for the ACLU in my home state of Wisconsin is an honor,” Ott said in a statement. “My predecessor Chris Ahmuty hired a strong staff that takes on influential and important work and punches above its weight. The ACLU of Wisconsin also has a rapidly growing membership of more than 14,000 statewide, as well as board leadership throughout the state. I’m really excited to join them.”

“Over the last several months, the ACLU of Wisconsin has doubled its membership. Thanks to a unanimous vote by our board of directors, we are excited to have Chris at the helm as Wisconsin starts this new chapter,” said Mary Jo McBrearty of Kohler, ACLU of Wisconsin board president. “We received 80 applications for this position, which were considered by a diverse search committee that included members of our board and other community leaders.”

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