Dan Kapanke was born in La Crosse and raised on a dairy farm in La Crosse County. He graduated from Luther High School in Onalaska in 1965 and later graduated from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He is a veteran and has served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and the Wisconsin and South Dakota National Guard. He served on the Town of Campbell Board and previously served as State Senator in the 32nd Senate District for more than six years. Along with his wife, Ruth, he is the co-owner and founder of the La Crosse Loggers. He also worked as a district sales manager for Pride Seed Company and Kaltenberg Seed Farms. Dan and Ruth have been married for 46 years and have four children and 13 grandchildren.