Colleagues praise choice of Frostman for Workforce Development Secretary

By  | 

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY/AP) - Ahead of his swearing-in ceremony Monday, Governor-elect Tony Evers named a local Democrat to his Cabinet.

Caleb Frostman in an undated WBAY photo

Outgoing state senator Caleb Frostman of Sturgeon Bay will be Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.

Frostman was executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation before running for public office. He won a special election to fill a vacant seat for the 1st Senate District last June but lost his bid for a full term in November to Republican Andre Jacque of De Pere.

Former colleagues of Frostman say his background brings a unique perspective to the cabinet position.

"He's going to bring some really good ideas and just some good common sense about how a state agency of this size should be run," Bay Area Workforce Executive Director Jim Golembeski said.

Golembeski said he's proud of Frostman's appointment to lead the state's workforce development. The state senator from Sturgeon Bay once served on his board.

"So they have someone from just outside of the Madison mediocracy, or the Madison group, and it's very encouraging to me," Golembeski said.

Golembeski told us Frostman has spent time hearing the needs of job centers and working with companies on ways to find employees.

"We do things together in ways that other parts of the state have not been able to do. He can bring that to this. I'm very excited about that," he said.

Ann Franz, director of NEW Manufacturing Alliance, believes Frostman's ties to Northeast Wisconsin will help represent the area at the state Capitol.

"He's been very involved with hearing how do we connect with individuals in the correctional system as well as how do we connect with people that have been dislocated because companies are going out of business," Franz said.


11:58 a.m.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers says he has no plans to break laws limiting his power that the Republican-controlled Legislature recently passed.

Evers on Thursday said at a news conference that he anticipates being a defendant in lawsuits challenging the laws, but "I have no intent of breaking the law."

On Wednesday he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would not follow some of the provisions without saying which ones. The laws limit his power to enact state agency rules, prohibit him from naming the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation until September and require him to get legislative approval before seeking federal waivers to change health care laws.

Evers has said he has no plans to appoint a WEDC head until when allowed under the law. And while he campaigned on wanting to disband the agency, he now says he won't propose doing that in his first budget.


11:15 a.m.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers has named two Democratic lawmakers to his Cabinet.

Evers on Thursday named state Rep. Peter Barca, of Kenosha, as secretary of the Department of Revenue and state Sen. Caleb Frostman, of Sturgeon Bay, as secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.

Frostman won a special election last year representing the Door County area in the state Senate, but lost his bid for a full term in November to Republican Andre Jacque.

Evers is currently state superintendent of schools. He named is chief of staff Emilie Amundson as secretary of the Department of Children and Families. He named assistant state superintendent Dawn Crim as secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Also, Evers picked former Obama administration official Andrea Palm to head the Department of Health Services.


9 a.m.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers is naming a former Obama administration official to head the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Evers' transition team said Thursday that Andrea Palm is his pick to serve as secretary of the department with a $12 billion annual budget that oversees the state's Medicaid and other public benefits programs.

Evers was to officially announce Palm's appointment at a news conference Thursday where he was to name other Cabinet secretaries. Evers takes over for Gov. Scott Walker on Monday.

Palm is originally from New York state. She most recently served as senior counselor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama from 2014 until 2017.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, she worked five years as a health policy adviser to then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)