Wisconsin Governor-elect Tony Evers has nominated Craig Thompson as his Secretary of the Department of Transportation. Now Mr. Thompson has been a very vocal advocate of infrastructure support including increased gasoline taxes to pay for Wisconsin’s deteriorating roads and highways. And of course he found fault with Governor Walker’s management of DOT and borrowing to run the agency’s various road projects. The thin skinned Republicans in Madison are taking umbrage at his appointment…pretending he was attacking the governor in his opposition to how he ran the DOT. Bah Humbug!
Now, my feeling has always been that any elected executive is entitled to his own appointees in cabinet positions…provided they have the expertise and aren’t criminals. That held for President George W Bush, President Barack Obama, Governor Scott Walker, and now of course, Governor-elect Tony Evers. It appears that Mr. Thompson is qualified.
But within hours of his nomination the Republicans in Madison have been attacking his appointment. Calling into question his credentials. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of course is leading the pack:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement Friday: “Governor-elect Evers would be better served by nominating someone who worked in a less controversial role during previous policy debates.”
Ironically as we’ve documented in these pages many Republicans supported increasing the gas tax during the Walker years but weren’t able to pass such legislation. They knew they couldn’t overcome a Walker veto. But they actually were in sync with Mr. Thompson’s views on gas taxes.
Assembly Republicans in the past budget cycle sided with Thompson’s view on revenue, while Walker refused to sign a budget that raised the state’s tax burden, prompting Fitzgerald to reject the idea, too.
On Friday, Thompson said he and Evers have not yet decided whether an increase in the state’s gas tax is appropriate and if so, how large.
As he ran against Walker, Evers made road funding key to his campaign and said he would explore all options available to improve the state’s roads and highways, including raising the state’s gas tax.
Not all of the GOP is in opposition…one supporter is the Grand Old Man of the Wisconsin GOP:
Craig Thompson won the endorsement of former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson on Friday, who said Craig Thompson (no relation) “understands the needs of our transportation system as well as anyone who has ever held the position.”
So Senator Scott Fitzgerald…it’s time to stand aside…approve Mr. Thompson’s nomination to DOT…allow the new governor work with his chosen associates…enjoy the policy debates to come…and get on with governing for crying out loud! In the past this latest round of mean spiritedness wouldn’t have become you…but it is starting to become you all too well.