Jeramey Jannene

Tom Barrett Confirmed as Ambassador to Luxembourg, Resignation Expected

Special election for mayor will occur April 5.

By - Dec 16th, 2021 07:47 pm
Mayor Tom Barrett delivers his 2022 budget to the Milwaukee Common Council as Council President Cavalier Johnson looks on. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett delivers his 2022 budget to the Milwaukee Common Council as Council President Cavalier Johnson looks on. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is on his way to Luxembourg and a Milwaukee mayoral race is expected to quickly ramp up.

On a voice vote Thursday evening the U.S. Senate confirmed Barrett’s nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The quick resolution to the nomination was unexpected given that more than 100 nominations by President Joe Biden are being held up by senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri).

But on Thursday afternoon Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he had “worked with my Republican colleagues to ensure no Republican objects to the nomination of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to be U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.”

Barrett was advanced out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, a move that multiple insiders told Urban Milwaukee amounted to trading one wait for another. He first appeared before the committee on Nov. 2, following an Aug. 25 nomination.

Barrett, in a press briefing at 8 p.m., said he had just come home from a walk shortly after 7 p.m. when he received a text message from the chief of staff of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that it was going to be an “interesting” evening. “Obviously that piqued my interest immensely,” said Barrett. Shortly thereafter he watched Schumer announce that he was confirmed via unanimous consent, one of the few nominees to be passed through in that fashion.

“I am extremely thankful to President Biden for having the confidence in me to serve him, to serve the State Department, and most importantly to serve the United States of America in Luxembourg,” said Barrett. “It’s something I’m very excited about.” Barrett thanked both Johnson and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson will become mayor upon Barrett’s resignation and, under state law, the Common Council must call a special election “as promptly as possible.” If that takes place by Dec. 28, as now expected, a special primary would be held Feb. 15 and a special election April 5. Both dates coincide with the already scheduled spring election. Johnson already declared as a candidate to replace Barrett, as have six others.

“I’m very, very confident that we will have a smooth transition over the next few weeks,” said Barrett. He said he would be talking with Johnson and the State Department shortly on timing. The mayor did not provide a definitive date for his resignation. “I don’t know exactly what the timing will be on this.”

The Dec. 28 date is critical to saving the city an estimated $700,000. If Barrett resigned in a window that didn’t permit the city to schedule a special election alongside an already scheduled election, the city would have needed to pay $350,000 per election (primary and general) to staff the polls and administer the process. Barrett was said to be carefully considering requesting Biden delay his final sign-off if one of those windows was missed. State law defines the windows for calling special elections.

Barrett, 68, who has served as mayor since 2004, will lead the U.S. embassy located in Luxembourg City. Situated between Germany, France and Belgium, Luxembourg has a population of approximately 620,000, similar to Milwaukee. But geographically speaking, the country, though one of Europe’s smallest, is about 10 times the size of the City of Milwaukee.

“I feel unbelievably honored to have served this community as mayor for nearly 18 years,” said Barrett. He said it was a dream come true to have the job as mayor. “I’ve often said, I’m not running from something, I’m running to something.”

Joining Johnson in the mayoral race are Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Sheriff Earnell Lucas, former alderman Robert Donovan, entrepreneur Michael Sampson, activist Nicholas McVey and Sheila Conley-Patterson.

The special election for mayor will be for the remainder of Barrett’s term through April 2024.

Johnson does not need to resign from his council seat to become acting mayor, but cannot vote while serving in the position.

I once again offer my congratulations to Tom Barrett, who’s been a dedicated servant in our community for four decades,” said Johnson in a statement issued after Barrett’s virtual press conference. “Here in Milwaukee, this is an important moment and I’m ready to step up and lead.”

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More about the 2022 Mayoral Race

Read more about 2022 Mayoral Race here

More about the Resignation of Tom Barrett

Read more about Resignation of Tom Barrett here

Categories: Politics

One thought on “Tom Barrett Confirmed as Ambassador to Luxembourg, Resignation Expected”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Best of luck to you, Tom.

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