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Local legislators respond to firing of Ag Secretary Brad Pfaff

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SPARTA, Wis. (WXOW) — Local state legislators weighed in on the firing of Ag Secretary Brad Pfaff this week.

Pfaff was removed from his position after a 19-14 vote in the Wisconsin State Senate. Republicans and Democrats voted along party lines in the decision which ultimately ousted Governor Tony Evers’ selection. Pfaff had held the position since January and was awaiting Senate confirmation.

Republican State Senator Patrick Testin stopped in Sparta on Friday to talk to his constituents and address the decision to fire Pfaff.

Republican State Senator Patrick Testin addressing constituents at Sparta Family Restaurant on Friday.

“It’s unfortunate because I believe Brad is a good person, and initially when he came before the committee back in February, the Ag committee which I sit on, he had my support but what transpired in the months thereafter really raised red flags,” said Testin.

The Republican from the 24th district was not happy with some of the regulation Pfaff implemented.

“Probably the most egregious was the livestock citing rules that were coming down the pipeline from his administration that was really going to hamper our dairy industry making it more difficult for are already struggling dairy operators,” said Testin.

On Monday, Democratic State Assembly Representative Steve Doyle commented on the removal of Pfaff.

Democratic State Assembly Representative Steve Doyle speaks at a forum on Monday for the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce.

“Brad Pfaff is a friend of mine and I took that one personally,” said Doyle. “I’m concerned it sets a bad tone going forward for cabinet secretaries also not getting confirmed. But we have to move on.”

The Wisconsin State Senate’s rejection of Brad Pfaff sparked an angry response from Governor Evers last week.

Evers said Republicans wanted to punish Pfaff for speaking out against their decision to hold up funding for farmer suicide prevention and believes future nominees could face a similar fate.

“That’s the message we’re saying to all the rest of the secretary designees, stay in your place folks,” said Evers. “You can’t think about things rationally, you just have to keep your mouth shut.”

After Pfaff was fired, Governor Evers appointed Randy Romanski as interim ag secretary.  Romanski has served in a variety of positions within the state government for decades.

Brad Pfaff has a new job within Governor Evers’ administration. He has been hired as the director of business and rural development for the state department of administration.

Mike Beiermeister

WXOW Weekend Anchor and Reporter

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