Fitzgerald, Senate Republicans Ignore Farmers, Rural Communities, Leave Agriculture Agency Without Dept. Head in the Midst of Dairy, Trade Crises
MADISON — Senate Republicans today voted to fire Gov. Tony Evers' Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) cabinet appointment, Brad Pfaff, leaving Wisconsin's leading agricultural agency without its top leader in the midst of rising trade tensions on the federal level and a growing dairy crisis that is threatening family farms across the state.
Republicans ignored pleas from farmers and agriculture stakeholders who expressed their broad, continued support for Pfaff after learning Republicans were poised to reject Pfaff's nomination. Not a single Republican Senator voted to confirm Pfaff as DATCP secretary. Republicans' vote today is the first time in modern Wisconsin history that the Wisconsin State Senate has rejected a gubernatorial cabinet nominee.
Gov. Evers released the following statement in response to Republicans' actions:
“Brad Pfaff is an extraordinary person and public servant who has dedicated his life to serving and advocating for our farmers, their families, and our rural communities. Brad once even went as far to say that being the secretary of DATCP was his dream job, and by golly, it showed. He brought relentless passion and joy to this work, and it was contagious to our cabinet and the people he fought each day to help. Brad has had and will continue to have my full support. I was honored to be able to appoint Brad, and it has been my honor to have the opportunity to serve alongside him these past eleven months.
And that’s why Republicans’ actions today were nothing short of callous and cruel—Republicans voted to reject a good man who has a good heart and who wakes up every day ready to serve. It was apparently more important for Republicans to serve up political retribution because Brad had the courage and the audacity to scold them for playing politics with farmers mental health during this dairy crisis. Frankly, it would have been a disservice to this state if I’d appointed a secretary who didn’t fight like hell for our farmers, regardless of the consequences.
This is the same political B.S. people are sick and tired of, and to say it’s a dark day for Wisconsin is simply an understatement.”