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Senate confirms pair of Evers’ Cabinet secretaries

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Gov. Tony Evers’ pick to lead the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 14 months into the job he began last year.

The Senate confirmed Preston Cole as DNR secretary and Emilie Amundson to lead the Department of Children and Families. Cole was confirmed unanimously whereas Amundson was approved 32-1.

The Republican-controlled Senate has been slow to confirm Evers’ Cabinet picks, and even rejected one, breaking the the tradition of typically pro forma votes for whoever a governor wants to be on his team.

Democrats have alleged that Republicans are trying to thwart the work of Evers’ administration by not confirming the Cabinet secretaries, thereby keeping their job status in limbo. All of the secretaries are working and getting paid while confirmation votes are pending.

With Cole and Amundson approved, that leaves five Cabinet secretaries pending confirmation.

The Senate in November fired Evers’ agriculture secretary, Brad Pfaff, following a series of disagreements over policy and critical statements Pfaff had made about Republicans.

Cole has largely won bipartisan praise for his work leading the DNR. The Department of Children and Families was in the news this month after it had tried to stop a journalist from publishing information from a confidential investigation into child abuse.

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