Evers on Prehn decision: ‘It’s wrongheaded, it’s shortsighted, and it’s politics at its most dangerous’

MADISON (WKBT) — Gov. Tony Evers slammed a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision Wednesday allowing a GOP appointed holdover to remain on the Wisconsin DNR governing board.

The justices ruled 4-3 that Fred Prehn, a conservative member of the state Department of Natural Resources policy board can remain on the panel indefinitely even though his term ended more than a year ago. Evers appointed Sandra Naas to replace him but Prehn refused to step aside. He argued that the state Supreme Court ruled in 1964 that gubernatorial appointees don’t have to resign until the Senate confirms their successors. Republicans who control the Senate have refused to hold a hearing on Naas’ confirmation.

“Today, I remind the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Republican Party of this state that we do still live in a democracy, a very basic function of which is the peaceful and respectful transfer of power, even—and most especially—when you lose,” Evers said. “Since becoming governor, I’ve worked to appoint experienced, hardworking Wisconsinites from every corner of our state to serve in important roles in our government—just like every governor has before me, and every governor will after me. These Wisconsinites are exceptionally qualified, should be considered on their merit, and should have the opportunity to serve the people of our state, regardless of whether or not they were appointed by a Democrat or share the same ideas as Republicans in the Legislature. They should’ve been confirmed a long time ago now. Today’s decision continues to underscore the erosion of democratic institutions at the hands of Republicans in this state. It’s wrongheaded, it’s shortsighted, and it’s politics at its most dangerous.”

Prehn issued a statement saying he intends to stay on the DNR board until the Senate confirms his successor. He accused Kaul and Evers’ administration of wasting money on legal fees for a “political stunt to satisfy their liberal donor base.”