Wisconsin Gov. Elect Scott Walker today announced his cabinet picks. They include: former Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch as secretary of the Department of Administration; Green Bay Mayor Paul Jadin as secretary of the state Department of Commerce, which Walker wants to revamp into a quasi-private agency; former state Rep. Cathy Stepp as secretary of the Department of Natural Resources; former state budget director Rick Chandler as secretary of the Department of Revenue; former Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin as secretary of the Department of Corrections; and, Eloise Anderson, a former aide to Dane County Executive Jonathan Barry who went on to serve as director of the California Department of Social Services, as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
The governor-elect named these and other picks in a press release (PDF).
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Gov.-Elect Walker gave new meaning to the term unflappable. Nearly every question asked whether he was "concerned" about this or that; his answer in every case was "No."
Was he concerned that his new picks, announced late in the week before they are set to start, will be ready? Not at all! Many have been working with him for weeks and others are so highly qualified they'll have no trouble hitting the ground running.
Walker made the same claim for his administration as a whole: "We're ready to go. We're ready to roll."
News nuggets: Walker said his goal in setting salaries for his cabinet members was to keep the overall payroll the same or lower than what it had been before. He said it met this goal; the salaries, he promised, will be released next week.
Asked about his pick of Cathy Stepp as DNR chief -- the reporter noted that incoming state Rep. Brett Hulsey had likened this to "putting Lindsey Lohan in charge of a rehab clinic" -- Walker calmly demurred. "We're going to have a DNR that's based on science and is predictable," he promised.
Stepp, a former state lawmaker, has served on the Natural Resources Board and worked with the Wisconsin Builders Association. She pledged in the Walker press release to be focused "on growing the state's economy," an arguably odd priority. Walker also made clear that the DNR would not be split into two agencies, as some have suggested.
Finally, Walker shot down the possibility of a sales tax increase, which one of his cabinet pick earlier suggested was a possibility. "There's not going to be a tax increase in this budget or this administration."
The Scott Walker era is about to begin.