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Tony Evers' transition team includes former Herb Kohl aide, Exact Sciences CEO

Tony Evers' transition team includes former Herb Kohl aide, Exact Sciences CEO


Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers has tapped his first key staffers to oversee his transition into the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, state Assembly Republicans on Monday unanimously gave Robin Vos another two years to lead them as speaker.

Vos told reporters moments later that Assembly Republicans may convene before Evers takes office to change oversight of the state jobs agency and put into state law an order from Gov. Scott Walker relating to the state’s requirement to show a photo ID to vote.

Last week Vos broached the possibility of a year-end “lame-duck” legislative session that could curtail powers of the governor’s office before Evers takes office.

On Monday, Vos said such a session is about ensuring Evers can’t “come in on day one with an agenda that we do not support and just strike out a bunch of our reforms.”

“We’re not taking away the line-item veto; we’re not looking at changing how he appoints the (Department of Natural Resources) board or the (UW System) Board of Regents or any of those kinds of things,” Vos said.

Meanwhile, JoAnne Anton, who has worked in various roles for former Democratic U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, will lead Evers’ transition team, the Evers campaign announced Monday.

Maggie Gau, who managed Evers’ campaign for governor, will be his chief of staff.

Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy is one of the five other members of Evers’ transition team, according to a news release.

The rest are:

  • Chuck Pruitt, co-managing director of ABD Direct, a Milwaukee fundraising-services firm, and former president of the Board of Regents.
  • Amy Traynor, an Eau Claire middle school teacher and 2013 Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year.
  • Jan Allman, Marinette Marine CEO.
  • Veronica Gunn, CEO of Genesis Health Consulting.

Also Monday, Evers made his first official communication with state lawmakers: a request to the Legislature’s budget-writing committee for funds for his transition team. Evers requested $94,600 to fund his transition, according to the request. Then-Gov.-elect Jim Doyle got $87,500 for his transition into office in 2002, and Gov. Scott Walker got $82,723 for his transition in 2010.

Evers also made clear Monday that he plans to continue serving as state superintendent of public instruction until he’s sworn in as governor, at which point he would step down as superintendent. The Evers campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how a successor would be named.

Lame-duck session looms

Vos, asked about lame-duck session plans to address the state’s voter ID requirement, said GOP lawmakers want to prevent a potential bid by Evers to “kill photo ID” once he takes office.

That could be done by Evers rescinding a Walker order to comply with a judge’s order in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law, Vos said.

“We’re going to make sure it’s in statute so we can’t have one person undo photo ID,” Vos said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said last week that lawmakers may “adjust” appointees to the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the jobs agency created by Walker. The 14-member WEDC governing board includes six members nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate for four-year terms.

Asked Monday if lawmakers were looking at ending the governor’s ability to appoint WEDC board members, Vos said, “We haven’t gotten to that in detail, but it’s just the general idea. It might be adding more appointments rather than taking some away.”

Assembly Republicans met Monday for the first time since the election and cast a voice vote to re-elect Vos, R-Rochester, as their leader. Vos has been speaker since 2013.

Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, was re-elected Assembly majority leader. Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, was re-elected Assembly speaker pro tem, the chamber’s procedural referee. Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, was elected assistant majority leader, succeeding Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville, who did not seek that post again.

In remarks to members, Vos repeatedly said he would work with Evers where possible. But he also vowed Republicans would not “roll over and play dead” to the first newly elected Democratic governor since Jim Doyle in 2002.

Vos also said the mission of Assembly Republicans will be to protect the changes made during the last eight years under a GOP Legislature and Walker.

“While Gov. Evers had a win on Tuesday, he certainly did not get a mandate,” Vos said.


Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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