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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett confirmed by U.S. Senate as Ambassador to Luxembourg

Aldermen ask Mayor Barrett to step down if he enters race for governor
Posted at 6:50 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 19:50:33-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was confirmed by the United States Senate on Thursday as Ambassador to Luxembourg.

The U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote.

Barrett will be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Now that Barrett has the full Senate approval, President Joe Biden can officially appoint him as Ambassador to Luxembourg.

Barrett delivered remarks briefly after the news broke. He said the next step will be transferring power to Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson who will be Acting Mayor.

Barrett also said he is not sure what the timing is yet for the transition, but is confident it will be smooth over the next few weeks.

You can watch Barrett's remarks below:

Johnson offered his congratulations Thursday night.

"I once again offer my congratulations to Tom Barrett, who’s been a dedicated servant in our community for four decades," Johnson said in a statement. "I have no doubt he will make our country proud. Here in Milwaukee, this is an important moment and I’m ready to step up and lead. We will make Milwaukee safer, we will make our community stronger, and we will make our economy and our environment more sustainable. We will create more family-supporting jobs, and we will continue building on our successes, while rising to address our challenges. Let’s go."

There are multiple 2024 mayor candidates, including Johnson. Other candidates include Nick McVey, Bob Donovan, Shelia Conley-Patterson, Michael Sampson, Earnell Lucas, and Marina Dimitrijevic.

Milwaukee County Sheriff Lucas thanked Barrett for his years of service.

"I thank him for his years of service and wish him the very best as he prepares for his next journey in service to the American people," Lucas said in a statement. "The Milwaukee Common Council will now schedule a special election to select the next mayor of Milwaukee and fill the unexpired term of Tom Barrett. I am running for mayor of Milwaukee because I love this city and have the critical life experience and the vision to lead our city and make Milwaukee a city on the rise. We will all work together to improve safety, public
services, health, and our collective futures. I look forward to sharing our vision for leadership and earning the trust and support of every Milwaukeean. Together we will create a strong, safe, vibrant,
and equitable Milwaukee that rises to its fullest potential.”

Dimitrijevic also congratulated Barrett.

"I want to congratulate Mayor Barrett on his confirmation as U.S. Ambassador," Dimitrijevic said in a statement. "It’s time to move Milwaukee forward. I’m running for mayor to find bold solutions that grow opportunity, support working families, and create a better future for everyone in Milwaukee. We’re ready for the campaign ahead and look forward to having these important conversations across Milwaukee.”

Candidate Donovan said it is a new day for Milwaukee.

"The announcement came as a shock to me, but it's a new day for Milwaukee, and I'm looking forward to a spirited campaign," Donovan said.

Michael Sampson, the owner of Swarmm Events and The Hive Coworking Office who is also running for Mayor of Milwaukee, also issued a statement on Friday:

"I’d like to thank mayor Barrett for his tenure of 18 years as Milwaukees mayor and wish him relaxation in Luxembourg.But it’s time for Milwaukee to get to work, roll up our sleeves and become the city we are destined to be. Young leadership was needed for our city so I am excited to see what Cavalier Johnson can quickly accomplish ahead of a special election. Im hoping the common council can promptly get a special election in place."

Barrett first became Mayor of Milwaukee in 2004, when he defeated incumbent Mayor Marvin Pratt. He was re-elected in 2008, 2012, 2016, and most recently in 2020.

He also was a candidate for Governor of Wisconsin twice - in 2010 and in 2012, for Gov. Scott Walker's recall election. Barrett lost both statewide races.

Earlier in his political career, Barrett served in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 14th Assembly District. In 1989, he won an election to the Wisconsin State Senate. Four years later in 1993, Barrett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Wisconsin's 5th Congressional district.