Have Wisconsin senators bullied Preston Cole into a corner?
Why won’t Preston Cole, secretary-designee of the DNR, come out with stronger pro-natural resources actions?
For instance, the DNR has the obligation of standing up for Wisconsin’s natural resources and previously DNR personnel testified for or against proposed legislative bills during hearings.
If not for DNR personnel, who else has the responsibility and the knowledge from professional ecologists to take the side of natural resources and tell legislators that what they are proposing will or won’t harm resources of this state?
That used to be the case, until past Gov. Scott Walker and former DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp came onboard and decided the DNR should not take a position during hearings, but testify for information only.
We’ve wondered why a new governor, and new DNR secretary designee with a background and legitimate qualifications in natural resources, haven’t allowed DNR personnel to now take a position.
The answer is politics.
The sad reality was evident Nov. 5 when the State Senate rejected Brad Pfaff as DATCP secretary.
Like Cole, Pfaff had the qualifications and unanimous approval of the senate committee that interviewed him, but he had the audacity to scold the Senate for not providing more money to help farmers with mental health issues.
The poor farming economy and abundant rain stressing farmers weren’t enough to convince senators that Pfaff was working on behalf of farmers.
Like Pfaff, Cole needs full state senate confirmation.
Cole received unanimous support from the Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee, and now needs a vote in the full senate.
With politics, nothing is a given today. The reality is that natural resource decisions need to be further isolated from politicians.
Unfortunately, majority politicians believe that power is the same as leadership. We see in Wisconsin and the U.S. Capitol where that is not true.