We don’t know what Governor elect Tony Evers was looking for in naming outgoing state senator Caleb the workforce development secretary, however only Frostman knows what Evers has gotten in his pick. Media Trackers previously reported that several people familiar with Frostman said they were surprised he ran as a Democrat in the June special election
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported on some of Evers’ appointees to his cabinet. Previously the executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corp, Frostman lost the November election to Republican Rep. André Jacque, and has been appointed by Evers as workforce development secretary.
While hand picked by Evers, Frostman’s ideology had confused those around him in the past. Media Trackers previously reported that a a source who is familiar with the operation of the Door County Economic Development Corp told us that he was shocked to learn Frostman was running as a Democrat in the June special election. He said as DCEDC Executive Director, he saw Frostman’s values and goals parallel with those of the Walker administration.
“When I heard he was running as a Democrat…I thought the whole thing was paradoxical. He talks a good game; he seems like he’s very conservative. He seems like he’s all in favor of economic development initiatives that Walker supports and just has that kind of persona about him. So when I heard that I was like wow, that just doesn’t sound right. I think we’re all kind of wondering what’s going on.”
Another source commented:
“Based on all the things that he works on, all the things the economic development corporation stands for, and all the things that are very similar to the Walker Administration, you just think well yeah, he must be a conservative,” he said with a laugh. “I was shocked. I was like what? You gotta be kidding me?”
Despite the confusion of those around him, in an interview with Josh Dukelow of WHBY-AM this past May, Frostman told him he saw the confusion as a compliment.
“I actually took it as a gigantic compliment, our work there, I’m really proud of our accomplishments in that they were incredibly non-partisan that we put the mission above partisan politics. That improving the economic vitality of that county and it’s residence was what we focused on, not whether someone was a Democrat or Republican. When you treat people with respect and you put the mission above partisan politics folks tend to like the work that’s getting done and they tend to like engaging with you. So I was pleased that people had no clue, it wasn’t a big secret, but I also did prioritize our accomplishments and our work over any partisan rankers.”
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke congratulated Frostman on Twitter.
Congrats to @SenFrostman for his being tagged to lead the DWD! While I haven’t had much time to get to know Caleb, I believe he will work across the aisle & will be diligent in efforts to improve WI’s workforce. I’ve enjoyed our brief conversation & look forward to working w/him.
— Jim Steineke (@jimsteineke) January 4, 2019
Frostman’s stint in the State Senate was too brief to give an indication of where he lies on the ideological spectrum. Frostman’s experience with the Door Co. Economic Development Corporation was likely attractive to Evers. In any event, Frostman, as Steineke indicated in his tweet, gives the appearance of someone willing to work across the aisle.