Evers Appoints Cabinet Secretaries and Senior Staff

Evers Appoints Cabinet Secretaries and Senior Staff

Earlier in January, the Evers team finalized its selections to fill cabinet positions. Cabinet Secretaries act as heads of state agencies and oversee the implementation and administration of state policy under the leadership of Governor Evers. The cabinet nominations are as follows:

  • Department of Health Services – Andrea Palm. Ms. Palm previously served as senior counselor at the federal Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama Administration. She also worked as health policy adviser to then-Senator Hillary Clinton. Ms. Palm is the first secretary pick from outside the state.


  • Department of Revenue – Peter Barca. Mr. Barca previously served in the State Assembly, including a few sessions as Minority Leader. He also served as Midwest regional administrator of the Small Business Administration during the Clinton administration.


  • Department of Workforce Development – Caleb Frostman. Mr. Frostman served a very short stint in the State Senate when he won a special election in the 1st Senate District in May. He lost the seat in November. Prior to his service in the Senate, he was executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corp.


  • Department of Children and Families – Emile Amundson. Ms. Amundson served then-State Superintendent Evers as his chief of staff at the Department of Public Instruction.


  • Department of Safety and Professional Services – Dawn Crim. Ms. Crim was previously the assistant state superintendent for the Division of Student and School Success at the Department of Public Instruction.


  • Department of Administration – Joel Brennan. Mr. Brennan was the chief executive officer for Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee. He previously served as campaign manager for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s 2004 mayoral campaign and led the Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority.


  • Department of Natural Resources – Preston Cole. Mr. Cole has served on the State Natural Resources Board since 2007. He was also Milwaukee Commissioner of Neighborhood Services.


  • Department of Corrections – Kevin Carr. Mr. Carr was the U.S. Marshal for Wisconsin’s eastern federal district. He previously spent 30 years in the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.


  • Department of Tourism – Sara Meaney. Meaney was the chief marketing and development officer at Milwaukee Film. She has an extensive background in advertising and marketing.


  • Department of Transportation – Craig Thompson. Mr. Thompson served as executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Development Association, which advocates for “development and maintenance of a strong, interconnected transportation network.”


  • Public Service Commission – Rebecca Cameron Valcq. Ms. Cameron Valcq was an attorney with Quarles & Brady law firm, who worked in the Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Group. She previously served as in-house regulatory counsel for WE Energies.


  • Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection – Brad Pfaff. Mr. Pfaff served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wisconsin Farm Service Agency executive director under the Obama administration.


  • Office of Commissioner of Insurance – Marke Afable. Mr. Afable was the chief legal officer for American Family Insurance.


  • Department of Veterans Affairs – Mary Kolar. Ms. Kolar served as the District I Supervisor for the Dane County Board of Supervisors. She spent twenty-eight active duty service in the U.S. Navy.


  • Department of Financial Institutions – Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld. Ms. Blumenfeld served as the executive vice president of special operations for Total Administrative Services Corporation.


  • Department of Administration, State Budget Office – Brian Pahnke. Mr. Pahnke served as the assistant state superintendent for finance and management at the Dept. of Public Instruction.


  • Department of Public Instruction – Carolyn Stanford Taylor. Ms. Stanford Taylor served as the Assistant State Superintendent.

Each appointee must be confirmed by the State Senate. They will likely be confirmed in the coming weeks.

In addition to cabinet secretary selections, the Evers also announced senior staff positions in the Governor’s Office, which are as follows:

  • Chief of Staff: Maggie Gau
  • Deputy Chief of Staff: Melissa Moore Baldauff
  • Deputy Chief of Staff: Kara Pennoyer
  • Deputy Chief of Staff: Barbara Worester
  • Chief Legal Counsel: Ryan Nilsestuen
  • Policy Director: Jenni Dye
  • Director of Constituent Services: Margie Berkowitz
  • Legislative Director: Stephanie Hilton
  • Deputy Communications Director: Britt Cudaback
  • Operations Director: Royce Kim
  • Director of Appointment for Board and Commissions: Cassi Fenili
  • Scheduling Director: Elsie Raymer
  • Outreach Director: Jamie Kuhn