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Romanski appointed head of Wisconsin agriculture department

Associated Press

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers on Monday appointed Randy Romanski as secretary of the state agriculture department, a position he’s held on an interim basis since November when his predecessor was fired by the state Senate.

Evers promoted Romanski from the deputy position at the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection after Brad Pfaff’s firing. Republicans who control the Senate were angry with Pfaff for critical comments he made about the Legislature’s budget committee not releasing money for mental health assistance to farmers and their families.

Pfaff is now running for the state Senate and, if he wins in November, could end up voting on whether to confirm Romanski as his successor. The Senate is not scheduled to convene again until January, although it may be forced into session later this year to deal with a state budget shortfall due to the economic hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, in a statement reacting to Romanski’s appointment, encouraged him to meet with senators “to begin to repair the relationship that Pfaff ruined.”

Romanski can serve as secretary unless the Senate votes to deny his confirmation.

Romanski has been around state government in a variety of roles for 30 years. He previously served as both the deputy and secretary of the agriculture department under former Gov. Jim Doyle.