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Evers nominates Barca for state secretary of revenue

State Rep. Peter Barca, of Kenosha, left, talks to the media after he was named to be secretary of the Department of Revenue during a press conference Thursday in Madison, where Governor-elect Tony Evers, right, announced selections for five Cabinet positions. Barca represents the 64th Assembly District, which includes part of Racine County.

MADISON — Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers on Thursday nominated state Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, to be state secretary of the Department of Revenue.

Before taking the position, Barca must first be confirmed by the state Senate.

According to the department’s website, the secretary of revenue is “responsible for administering state and local taxes in a fair, efficient and equitable manner while advocating sound tax and fiscal policies and providing property tax relief.”

At a press conference on Thursday, Barca thanked Evers for the nomination and said he is looking forward to working in the cabinet.

“My priorities as a state legislator have always been economic development helping to stimulate family-supporting jobs, expand the middle class and assist small-business growth,” Barca said. “The state revenue department plays a critical role in all of these aspects and I believe we can help attain these goals in this department.”

Barca, whose 64th Legislative District includes the far southeast corner of Racine County, said he’s happy to work on policies “that have an impact on each and every citizen across our great state.”

“I was so thrilled with the platform that he (Evers) put forward, not the least of which is trying to provide tax relief to the middle class but also to try to provide greater customer service to all people,” Barca said.

Praise from Republicans

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, who has been critical of some of Evers’ picks for his cabinet, said with Barca “Evers finally got one right.”

“Rep. Barca is a reasonable Democrat who is more than willing to work across the aisle and has the political courage to do what’s right for the people of Wisconsin,” Vos said. “The Assembly’s loss is certainly the administration’s gain. I want to wish Peter the best of luck in his new position and thank him for his friendship and service in the state Assembly.”

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, whose district includes part of Somers, said she will miss Barca’s contributions in the Assembly but added “I am glad to note that the State of Wisconsin will continue to benefit from his leadership.

“I’ve always appreciated Rep. Barca’s experience and statesmanship and have valued our good working relationship in serving Kenosha County,” Kerkman said. “I look forward to working with Rep. Barca in his new role.”

The secretary of revenue will likely have some influence regarding the Foxconn Technology Group development in Mount Pleasant and the $2.85 billion tax incentive plan benefit passed by the state in 2017. Barca voted in favor of the Foxconn tax incentive package.

If Barca is confirmed to the position, Evers will call a special election to fill his seat in the Assembly.

Other nominations

In addition to Barca, Evers on Thursday nominated: Emilie Amundson, his former chief of staff at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, to be secretary of the Department of Children and Families; Dawn Crim, current assistant state superintendent at DPI, to be secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services; state Sen. Caleb Frostman, D-Sturgeon Bay, to be secretary of the Department of Workforce Development; and Andrea Palm, senior counselor to the secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration, to be secretary of the Department of Health Services.

Barca has represented the 64th Assembly District, which includes parts of the City of Racine, Mount Pleasant, Elmwood Park, Kenosha and Somers, since 2009 and was the Assembly Minority leader from 2011 to 2017. Barca was also appointed to the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

 

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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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