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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 11:32 AM 

Senate signs off on appointments

The Senate signed off on a series of appointments, most of them unanimously.

That includes Ray Allen to be DWD secretary after he served in a similar role at DFI and former GOP state Rep. Mary Williams as a public member of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

The exception was Yash Wadhwa to be Railroads commissioner, who cleared the chamber 26-6.

He replaces former Dem Sen. Jeff Plale, who left the office after news reports that raised questions over how he handled the discipline of two employees who were carrying on an affair in the office.

Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said he wasn’t satisfied that Wadhwa would be an advocate in the role.

“I would like to have a very activist railroad commissioner, someone who’s going to use their bully pulpit to take care of some of the railroad issues,” Carpenter said.

Wadhwa has an engineering background and has been a regular donor to GOP groups and candidates, including the guv. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2008.

Sen Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, said he has known Wadhwa for many years and is happy he’s coming to the job without significant experience in the railroad industry. He predicted Wadhwa will be accessible to lawmakers.

“He’s going to bring a fresh perspective,” Wanggaard said. “He’s going to be an active listener and get people involved who weren’t involved before.”


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