The year is ending with many of Governor Tony Evers’ picks for his administration still not confirmed by the state Senate. All were tapped to serve by the Democratic Governor a year ago, but several have yet to be confirmed. “We have to get these people approved, that’s the bottom line,” Evers said in a year-end interview.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald noted that only one of Evers’ selections to head state agencies was a former legislator. “I think the governor – not on purpose – made a couple of judgement calls that maybe didn’t go his way,” Fitzgerald said.
Peter Barca was quickly confirmed as Revenue Secretary after representing the Kenosha area in the Assembly. Department of Financial Institutions Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan, Department of Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar have also been confirmed.
But Fitzgerald said some of his members have “concerns” – not all clearly specified – regarding some of Evers’ remaining picks. “But there are others that have garnered enough support, so I think we’ll definitely have a couple more (confirmation votes) on the calendar in January.
Appointees yet to be confirmed include Craig Thompson at DOT, Caleb Frostman at Workforce Development, Andrea Palm at the Department of Health Services, and Sara Meaney at Tourism. During a year-end press conference, Fitzgerald was asked if some of those people may not be confirmed by the time the legislative session ends.
“Yeah, I think that is a possibility,” he said. “I do anticipate though, every month that we’re in, very calendar will include some secretaries. I know there’s some great concern with a couple of them still.”
Evers indicated he’d like to see the process prioritized. “I think it’s time to say ‘okay, let’s get these people done'” he said. The governor was in the Senate chamber on November, when Republicans rejected Brad Pfaff to lead the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.