MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Two of the four Democrats running in the governor’s recall election say they would agree to let the Natural Resources Board choose the DNR secretary.
Kathleen Falk called for a return to that arrangement Monday, when she said that Governor Scott Walker’s appointee – Cathy Stepp – should be fired.
Falk was responding to the Wisconsin State Journal’s report that the DNR last year issued its smallest number of violations to environmental permits since 1999.
One of the other Democratic candidates, Doug La Follette, agreed that the Natural Resources Board should go back to appointing the secretary. And he said the governor should also lose his power to appoint the Veterans Affairs secretary.
The Republican Walker responded to Falk by defending Stepp’s job performance as the DNR chief. Spokeswoman Julie Lund called Stepp a “vital member” of the cabinet, and she said the DNR’s new focus is, “encouraging job creation, not discouraging it.”
Lund said Stepp is carrying out a, “common-sense balance that encourages growth while effectively safeguarding our environment.”
Former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson started appointing the DNR secretary in the mid-1990’s.
Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle first promised to give the appointment power back to the board. But he did a flip-flop several years later, saying a governor does a better job of making the DNR leader more accountable.