Gov. Walker Reappoints Doyle Appointee To DNR Board


Governor Scott Walker has made the rare move of re-appointing an appointee made by former Governor Jim Doyle to a major state position.

About six years ago, then-Governor Doyle chose Milwaukee public works official Preston Cole to be the first African-American on the board of the Department of Natural Resources. Other board members recently chose Cole to be board chair. Now, with Cole’s term almost expiring, Walker has reappointed Cole to the board; Cole will reportedly remain chair. Walker often criticizes Jim Doyle’s policies, and Walker admits he hasn’t kept many of Doyle’s people in key positions.

“I’d have to look. There have been a few on some boards – I guess it would all depends on the definition – but on something of this prominence, I believe so.”

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Walker says he has great respect for Cole.

“He’s got a great background, brings experience from an urban area of Milwaukee, but has a great background in forestry. He’s a goose hunter. He’s got a little bit of everything out there.”

Cole appears to get along well with DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp at DNR board meetings. The board is supposed to oversee DNR policies. At a Milwaukee news conference that Walker held to announce Cole’s reappointment, Cole lavished praise on Stepp.

“She is my personal cheerleader. My Martin Luther King. I said it. She is my personal Martin Luther King because of the cheerleading that she does on behalf of the department.”

Cole also sounded a lot like Governor Walker when he said the DNR will have to do more, with less, and give clarity to the department’s rule-making process.