Exit a possible early favorite, attorney John Behling, who may have been too insufficiently partisan a Department of Natural Resources Secretary to suit the new breed of GOP legislative leaders/ideologues - - with the result that the far more partisan Cathy Stepp as DNR Secretary now seems the inevitable nominee.
She's has been a Racine County home builder, a former State Senator and, shall we say, about as unlike Gaylord Nelson as you can get.
You can get an idea about her DNR-related thinking from something she posted on a conservative blog last year:
"Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.
The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.
For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with...
Stepp's former Senate chief of staff was Scott Manley, now the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's environmental policy chief.O'k, I went waaay wordier than I intended, but here's some language that was inserted into this BudgetPig that should scare everyone--regarding one of our agencies, the Department of Commerce: "it may promulgate the initial rules as emergency rules without the finding of emergency."
Why should this scare you? When (not if, I said WHEN) they give this authority to the DNR there will be more of a whooshing sound as businesses run for the borders.
It's always the fine print in these things that have the heaviest hit.
Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.
Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT."
That would give the WMC an even more direct and powerful conduit in disabling the DNR and substituting the WMC as the state's 'environmental' voice - - especially as Walker is proposing to somewhat privatize the Commerce Department and take some rule-making powers away from the legislature for his own office.
That would help him align the new Commerce Department with a pro-business DNR.
Stepp has been a worker for DNR 'reform' for some time - - reform, as in reducing the role of the agency so that business has a freer rein to develop resources, property owners can have their interests override the public interest, and preservation of resources for today and tomorrow can take a back seat to exploitation.
For context, putting Stepp and her anti-DNR team in charge of the DNR would like appointing a water bottler to oversee the Great Lakes Compact, or installing a coal mine owner to manage the Environmental Protection Agency.
Walker could and should do better.