(AP) — MADISON, Wis. — Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers has appointed two new cabinet secretaries.
Evers announced that Mary Kolar, a retired U.S. Navy captain, will serve as the new state Department of Veterans Affairs secretary. Kathy Blumenfeld, a vice president of a Madison-based benefits administration company, will serve as Department of Financial Institutions secretary.
"I look forward to being part of a team that will increase our reach to and communications with all Wisconsin veterans to ensure they and their families receive the benefits they have earned," Kolar said Friday in a news release. "We will work to ensure veterans achieve their employment, education, and quality of life goals."
Evers also announced Brian Pahnke, an assistant state schools superintendent, as his state budget director.
"The team members we are announcing today will help our administration connect the dots on important issues facing our state," Evers said in a news release. "I am confident they will make sure veterans and their families receive the benefits they have earned, work with the Wisconsin business and financial communities to encourage economic growth in all 72 counties, and help us build a state budget that reflects the priorities we heard at our budget listening sessions."
Lt. Gov-elect Mandela Barnes said everyone needs to work together to address issues facing the state.
"Adding these talented individuals to our team, who are committed to working together to solve problems, will help us move our state forward," he said.
Blumenfeld said she was eager to join the team. "I am very optimistic about the future of our state and look forward to collaborating with our team, stakeholders, and leaders around the state to foster an environment of innovation and economic growth."
Pahnke said he is ready to get to work. "The state budget has many challenges, but it is also a great opportunity to work in a collaborative manner to advance a budget that reflects the values Wisconsin citizens shared with us during the budget listening sessions around the state," he said.
The governor-elect made the announcements during a news conference Friday.