Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who has presided over skyrocketing violent crime, a lead crisis that imperiled children, and a city with some of the nation’s worst racial disparities in poverty and other areas, was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the ambassador to Luxembourg.
Biden made the announcement on Aug. 25, 2021. He wrote in a press release, “Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following two individuals to serve as key leaders on U.S. foreign policy and aid” and then listed “Thomas Barrett, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg” as one of them.
Barrett said in a news conference that he is not resigning just yet. He said he will remain as mayor “in the period between my nomination and final Senate consideration.”
“Mayor of Milwaukee since 2004, Thomas Barrett is currently the nation’s longest-serving big city mayor,” said Biden’s release.
“He has led great lakes mayors in both Canada and the U.S. as the chair of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative, and spearheaded multiple clean, green initiatives in the city to clean up rivers, parks, and brownfields. He served five terms as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and was a State Senator and State Representative in Wisconsin. Barrett received a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. He clerked for the Honorable Robert W. Warren, Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”
Is Tom Barrett Resigning?
If Barrett is confirmed and leaves the mayoral post (he has a press conference scheduled for later in the day), that would leave Common Council President Cavalier Johnson as the city’s interim mayor, shaking up a city that hasn’t been led by anyone else in the mayor’s position since 2004.
Barrett, a Democrat, is 67 years old. Barrett would need to be confirmed to the ambassador’s post by the US Senate.
According to his mayoral bio, “After earning his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he entered public service starting in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate and continuing his legislative career representing Milwaukee in the U.S. Congress. On April 6, 2004, Milwaukee elected Tom Barrett as its 40th Mayor. He has won reelection in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020.”