Barrett Will Become Ambassador to Luxembourg
Mayor's appointment means Cavalier Johnson will serve as acting mayor, special election will be called.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is expected to be appointed the United States Ambassador to Luxembourg.
President Joe Biden will nominate Barrett, 67, to serve as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the White House confirmed Wednesday. The position is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.
Luxembourg is a sovereign nation led by a monarch. It also has a parliament led by a prime minister. The official language of the country is Luxembourgish, along with administrative languages of German and French.
Barrett has served as mayor since 2004. He was re-elected four times, including in April 2020. Prior to serving as mayor Barrett was a five-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, one-term member of the Wisconsin State Senate and a two-term member of the Wisconsin State Assembly. He ran unsuccessfully for governor three times.
“It is a remarkable privilege to be the mayor of Milwaukee,” said Barrett in s a two-minute speech given after this article was first published. “In the period between my nomination and final Senate consideration, I will continue to focus my full attention on mayoral duties, my obligations to the people of this great city.”
Barrett did not take questions after delivering his speech outside his office at City Hall.
If and when Barrett steps down, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson would become acting mayor until a special election is called. He would not have to resign from his council seat to become acting mayor, but could not vote during the time he is acting mayor.
State law requires a special election to be called “as promptly as possible.” While it is unknown when Barrett will step down, the date of the special election would be between 62 and 77 days from when it is ordered by the council. If Barrett delays his resignation sufficiently, the election could be called to sync up with the already scheduled April 2022 or November 2022 elections.
Syncing up with an already scheduled election would save the city $150,000 from not having to host a standalone, citywide election.
The ambassador post is currently held by Casey Mace, the embassy’s charge de’affaires (chief of mission). Mace took on the caretaker role after appointed ambassador Randy Evans stepped down following the end of President Donald Trump‘s term in January.
Barrett has been the subject of federal appointment rumors since Biden was elected. He is the longest actively-serving big-city mayor and has long been a prominent Democrat. Johnson, since becoming council president, has been positioning himself for a potential mayoral run.
Biden has only one ambassador to a foreign nation confirmed and more than 50 pending appointments.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article said Johnson would be mayor through April 2024. He will serve until a special election concludes.
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