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After years-long wait, Senate confirms several Evers cabinet members

After years-long wait, Senate confirms several Evers cabinet members

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Three members of Gov. Tony Evers’ cabinet were confirmed on Tuesday by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state Senate, ending a years-long standoff over several of the governor’s high-profile appointees.

Secretaries Dawn Crim of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, Craig Thompson of the Department of Transportation and Randy Romanski of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection were all approved after roughly two years of leading their respective agencies. 

Crim was approved 28-2, Thompson 27-4 and Romanski was confirmed unanimously.

The confirmation votes came shortly after the body gaveled into session, and followed the unanimous approval of more than 30 other Evers appointees to a variety of positions throughout the state.

The Senate also took roll call votes to approve Joaquin Altoro as executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Melissa Hughes as CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; and Daniel Carlton to lead the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.

Since taking office, Evers has seen many of his nominees wait in limbo for a confirmation vote from the state Senate. In some instances, delayed consideration of the governor’s nominees has sparked lawsuits.

For example, Evers in April appointed Sandra Dee Naas to a seat on the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, which dictates policy for the Department of Natural Resources. Naas has not yet received a hearing for her role on the board, and instead Frederick Prehn, an appointee of former Gov. Scott Walker, continues to serve as chair of the board, despite his term ending on May 1.

Attorney General Josh Kaul sued to try and have Prehn removed from the board, but the lawsuit was recently dismissed by a Dane County judge.

“A timely confirmation hearing would have eliminated the need for (Kaul’s lawsuit) and saved the taxpayers attorneys' fees incurred in this matter,” the judge wrote in her ruling.

Dozens of other Evers appointees are currently waiting for a vote in the Senate.

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Politics Reporter

Jack Kelly reports on the state Capitol, campaigns and everything else Wisconsin politics for the Cap Times. His prior reporting has taken him to multiple continents, Washington and, of course, across Wisconsin. Follow him on Twitter @byjackkelly.

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