Roger Polack

Roger Polack

Candidate for U.S. Representative District 1

Candidate Information

Candidate Statement

Candidate Biography

Roger Polack’s story began in Racine, but his service to the United States and its Intelligence Community took him around the world. Roger is a product of hard work, community, and opportunity, and he wants to ensure that the people of Southeastern Wisconsin have the same chance at success that he has had.

Roger grew up in Racine as the youngest of four children in a blue-collar family. His father, Russell, worked the assembly line at J.I. Case before starting a small roofing company. Unfortunately, Russell suffered from mental health and addiction issues throughout Roger’s childhood. Eventually, Roger’s mother, Barbara, became the primary family wage earner, working as many as three jobs at a time. From age 12, Roger spent summers and school breaks roofing alongside his oldest brother, who took over their father’s struggling business.

School was a lifeline for Roger. He is a product of Horlick High School, where he met his now wife, Amanda. While at Horlick, the Racine Rotary Club opened up a crucial opportunity for Roger when he was accepted into their study abroad program to Germany. This started to form in Roger a global perspective and helped him gain admission to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before graduating from UW-Madison. While at UW-Madison, Roger was selected by the U.S. Government as a National Security Scholar, an award given “to America’s future leaders.” Roger used the award to study in Thailand and Myanmar.

Roger chose public service immediately after college. As a civilian intelligence official and senior policy advisor in both the Bush and Obama administrations, he worked to shut down Al-Qaida affiliated terrorist groups’ funding in Asia, to fight corruption in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s financing pipeline, to ensure that foreign investments in the U.S.—in particular, those from China—did not endanger our national security, and to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Roger served multiple tours as a civilian intelligence officer in Afghanistan, spending 20 months on the ground first as an analyst for, and then Deputy Director of, the Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell. He sat face to face with Taliban detainees, helped plan law enforcement and military operations, and managed the intelligence priorities of 40 civilian and military staff.

Living in violent, unstable countries inspired Roger to attend law school, as he saw that the ability to apply the rule of law is fundamental to a safe and stable society. After returning from Afghanistan, he attended law school at Georgetown University while continuing to work full time on pressing national security concerns in his roles at the Department of Treasury. After graduating with high honors, he worked as an attorney focusing on public international law and investigations. Roger is the recipient of many awards including the Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the second-highest civilian service award given by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Roger’s experience serving our country shaped his desire to represent Wisconsin in Congress. He got to where he is today because of the opportunities provided to him by our great state and nation and because of his hard work. As the father of two young children—three-year-old Bennett and four-month-old Fiona—he wants to ensure his story of success is not unique. Roger wants all Americans to have access to good jobs, affordable health care and a great education to provide them the opportunity to pursue their full potential.