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Brancel, Stepp Continue to Serve on Gov. Walker's Cabinet
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/07/2015

Gov. Scott Walker has decided not to make any changes to his list of cabinet secretaries going into his second term. The Republican governor was inaugurated at the State Capitol earlier this week. He said Tuesday that he is retaining his cabinet and political advisors, which includes Ben Brancel as the state's agriculture secretary, and Cathy Stepp heading the Department of Natural Resources.

Brancel was a former state ag secretary under Tommy Thompson from 1997-2001 before returning to the agency under Walker's appointment four years ago. He also served as the director of the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency for the Bush Administration and then became a state relations liaison for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

A fifth-generation beef producer from Endeavor, Brancel and his wife, Gail, raise Angus beef cattle on a 290-acre farm. He was elected to serve in the State Assembly's 42nd district in 1987. Over the following decade, he would rise through the ranks and become Assembly Speaker.

Stepp was a state Senator representing the 21st district from 2003-2007, where she co-chaired the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee. She has also been employed as a Vice President at Magnum Truck and Equipment, Inc., worked with the Wisconsin Builders' Association, National Association of Home Builders and numerous other local builders' groups. Stepp is an avid outdoorswoman and has been credited for making the DNR more customer-oriented during her first term as secretary.

Other cabinet members include Michael Huebsch, Administration; Eloise Anderson, Children and Families; Edward Wall, Corrections; Peter Bildsten, Financial Institutions; Mary Rhoades, Health Services; Richard Chandler, Revenue; Greg Gracz, Employment Relations; David Ross, Safety and Professional Services; Stephanie Klett, Tourism; Mark Gottlieb, Transportation; John Scocos, Veterans Affairs; Reginald Newson, Workforce Development; Theodore Nickel, Commissioner of Insurance; Wyman Winston, Housing and Economic Development Authority; and Reed Hall, Development Corporation.

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