Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
topical alert

Scott Walker appointee to lead Wisconsin natural resources board; Fred Prehn to stay on

  • 0

An appointee of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been selected to lead Wisconsin’s natural resources policy board.

In a secret ballot, the board voted 4-3 Wednesday to appoint Greg Kazmierski to serve as chair for 2022.

A hunting advocate and archery shop owner from Pewaukee, Kazmierski defeated board member Bill Smith, a retired Department of Natural Resources staffer appointed by Gov. Tony Evers in 2019.

Kazmierski said the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of in-person meetings, has inhibited the board’s cohesion as a group.

“This board hasn’t really gotten to know each other very well except on YouTube,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting this board to gel like we have in the past.”

Fred Prehn


Kazmierski, who has served on the board since 2011, will take over the leadership role from fellow Walker appointee Fred Prehn, who will continue serving as a board member.

“The last years have been, shall I say, interesting,” Prehn said.

Despite public pressure, the Wausau dentist has refused to step down since his term expired May 1, denying Evers’ appointee Sandra Naas a seat.

Prehn argues he can continue serving until the Senate confirms Naas.

The Republican-led Senate has made no moves to do that, ensuring Walker appointees majority control over the board, which will be asked to consider politically charged policy decisions, including approval of a new wolf management plan and the state’s first attempts to regulate toxic chemicals known as PFAS.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit in August asking the courts to force Prehn to step aside.

The state Supreme Court has agreed to decide the case, though it’s unclear when the conservative-majority court will issue a decision. The court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 10.

Senate Republicans have also stalled confirmation of Evers’ appointees to boards overseeing the higher education system, a move that could allow the GOP to quickly retake control if the party wins the governor’s race in November.

Five of Evers’ picks for the state technical college system board are unconfirmed, with three of them unable to serve because Walker appointees have refused to vacate their seats even though their terms expired last spring.

Environmental reporter Chris Hubbuch's favorite stories of 2021

Stories are a bit like children when it comes to picking favorites. But then who has room in their wallet for pictures of 278 kids? So here are five that kind of stand out in my mind. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them. 


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Badger Sports

Breaking News