While others will fret about their state jobs with a change in the Governor’s office, state Railroad Commissioner Roger Breske won’t be among them. Breske seemed like an odd choice when he was appointed to the office in June of 2008. He had been in the bar and restaurant business for 21 years and at one time served as President of the Wisconsin Tavern League. He was a Democratic state Senator when Governor Jim Doyle appointed him to serve as state railroad commissioner. Observers at the time noted Breske’s strong opposition to a statewide smoking ban may have been a consideration, but Breske says he did actually have a few years of background in the railroad business: he worked four years as a fireman on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
Breske says sometimes an appointment to a state office is a matter of political expediency. “When Tommy (Thompson) was here, they offered jobs every once in a while, but none of them ever panned out. They figured they could win that seat if they got rid of me when the Republicans were in control.”
Breske isn’t worrying about whether fellow Democrat Tom Barrett gets elected governor: his term as Railroad Commissioner ends in March. He says he will be 71-years-old then, and it will be time to put public office behind him. “It’s time I get the hell out of here and let somebody else work.”
Bob Nelson, KFIZ