AP NEWS

The Latest: Pressure mounts to confirm Evers’ Ag secretary

November 4, 2019 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on confirmation of Wisconsin agriculture secretary (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration and agriculture groups were pressuring Republicans to vote to confirm the governor’s pick to be state agriculture secretary.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Brad Pfaff doesn’t have enough support to be confirmed on Tuesday. If the confirmation vote fails he would be fired from the post.

Pfaff was calling Republican senators on Monday. Evers’ top aide Joel Brennan says he’s spoken with Republicans who aren’t comfortable with voting to fire Pfaff. Brennan says he wants the Senate to at least delay the vote.

Groups supporting Pfaff are also contacting senators. The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Organic Valley and the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association all contacted lawmakers urging support for Pfaff.

The Legislative Reference Bureau says no Cabinet secretary has been rejected by the Senate since at least 1987. That’s the farthest back their records go.

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9:17 a.m.

The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Senate is accusing the state agriculture secretary of not dealing with the dairy crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Senate Republicans plan to reject the confirmation of Agriculture Secretary Brad Pfaff on Tuesday. That would force Pfaff out of the job he’s held since being appointed by Gov. Tony Evers in January.

Fitzgerald tells WTMJ-TV that Pfaff “is part of the problem” and “has bungled this job since day one.”

Pfaff and Evers did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. But Evers has defended Pfaff, noting that he won unanimous, bipartisan support in a Senate committee. He also has the backing of a wide array of industry groups, including the Wisconsin Dairy Producers Association, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.