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Meet author Tim Cullen on Oct. 19

Book World welcomes local author and former state Sen. Tim Cullen for a book-signing event from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. Cullen will sign copies of his new book “Disassembled: A Native Son of Janesville and General Motors – a Story of Grit, Race, Gender, and Wishful Thinking and What It Means For America.”

About the book

Tim Cullen - Disassembled cover

There have been many articles and even books written on what happened after General Motors closed its plant in Janesville, Wisconsin in 2008 after some 90 years of operation. Here, for the first time, former Wisconsin state senator — and Janesville native — Tim Cullen tells the inside story of how and why it happened, and what it means for the future not only of Janesville, but cities across America.

Cullen, who co-chaired the governor’s task force that tried to save the Janesville plant, provides a sweeping history of the plant from its boom years to the abyss, while noting the struggles African Americans and women faced in getting hired and treated fairly. Along the way he finds some heroes, including an early African American GM employee; a woman who insisted on gender equity in the plant; and Walter Reuther, the legendary labor leader.

Perhaps no one is better qualified than Tim Cullen to tell this important story. Tim worked in the Janesville GM plant as a college student and
he was there, decades on, when presidential candidate Barack Obama told a hopeful gathering of GM employees and other stakeholders he
would do what he could to ensure its success. Less than a year later, the plant closed. In Disassembled, Tim Cullen reveals what happened.

About the author

Tim Cullen
Tim Cullen

Tim Cullen was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin. He graduated from UW-Whitewater with a Major in Political Science with a minor in History.

He is the third generation of his family to work at General Motors. He worked there for four summers in the 1960s to pay his way through college. He also was involved in helping GM and the UAW as a state senator representing Janesville. Governor Jim Doyle appointed him to co-chair a task force in 2008 to try to save the plant. He has had a lifetime of connections with the “plant.”

The first election Cullen won was to the Janesville City Council in 1970. Four years later he was elected to the State Senate at the age of 30. He went on to become Senate Majority Leader and in 1987 he became Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services under Governor Tommy Thompson.

In 1988 Cullen took a job with Blue Cross and worked with them for the next 20 years. In 2010 he decided to run for his old Senate seat. He was elected and served until 2015. Today Cullen still lives in Janesville and spends his time working with the three foundations he started. He is also the chair of the board of Common Cause-Wisconsin.