BY SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press
OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ spokeswoman accused Republican legislative leaders Saturday of refusing to work with the governor’s chief of staff because she is a woman, leading the GOP lawmakers to call the charge “asinine” and “clueless.”
The back and forth came after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald detailed at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention what they said was a strained relationship with the new governor, who is in his fifth month in office. Vos called Evers “out of touch” and Fitzgerald said his office hasn’t figured out how to work with lawmakers.
“There’s a real disconnect on all different levels with this governor,” Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald said he and Vos have only met with Evers twice for five minutes since January.
Evers “has communicated repeatedly to GOP leadership that they should work with his chief of staff, just like they did under the previous governor,” said his spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff. “That directive wasn’t confusing to them when the chief of staff was a man.”
Everyone who served as chief of staff under former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was a man. Evers’ chief of staff is Maggie Gau, who ran his campaign and previously worked for Democrats in the Legislature.
“Vos and Fitzgerald are clearly uncomfortable or simply unwilling to work with a leadership team made up entirely of women,” Baldauff said.
Fitzgerald, in a statement, called the accusation “completely asinine.”
“The most powerful senator on the budget committee is a woman, and perhaps they’d know that if someone from the governor’s team was actually engaged in budget negotiations,” Fitzgerald said, referring to Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling.
Vos, in a tweet, pointed out that his chief of staff, communications director and policy director are all women.
“Evers staff – Clueless,” Vos tweeted.