Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett To Be Named US Ambassador To Luxembourg

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Long-time Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will be nominated as the new U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, according to the White House.

Barrett, 67, was elected to his fifth term as mayor in April 2020. He first became mayor in 2004, when he defeated incumbent Mayor Marvin Pratt.

Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson will become mayor until a special election is called. The timing of the election is dependent on when Barrett is appointed.

In a statement from the White House announcing President Joe Biden’s intent to nominate Barrett, Biden praised Barrett for being the longest-serving “big city” mayor and for his environmental initiatives.

“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,” the statement said.

During a brief press conference Wednesday afternoon, Barrett said he was honored by the nomination and humbled by the trust that Biden has placed in him.

“As a lifelong Milwaukeean, I will bring the values of our community to this new posting, values we share such as hard work, honesty and caring for others,” Barrett said, adding that, during his tenure, he’s proud of the work done on economic development, racial equity, city infrastructure and the pandemic response.

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“I’m confident about Milwaukee, and as you know, I care deeply about the future of our city,” Barrett said. “Yes, there are some very, very serious challenges, but I have faith in the people here, and I have faith that they are ready to meet these challenges.”

Barrett grew up in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood. He was elected in 1984 to the state Assembly. In 1989, he was elected to the state Senate before he was elected in 1992 to Congress where he served for 10 years. Barrett ran for governor in 2002, but lost to Jim Doyle in the Democratic primary. Then, in 2010, he lost to former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. He also lost to Walker in the 2012 recall.

Barrett was reelected with more than 70 percent of the vote in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Luxembourg is a western European nation with a population of approximately 620,000 people, slightly larger than Milwaukee’s, and is between France and Germany.

Barrett’s new position is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

J. Randolph Evans was the ambassador from 2018 to 2021.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett nominated as United States Ambassador to Luxembourg

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MILWAUKEE – Longtime Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was nominated as the new United States Ambassador to Luxembourg, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

If Barrett is confirmed to the position, Milwaukee’s city charter states Common Council President Cavalier Johnson would become acting mayor until a new mayor is voted into office.

The U.S. Senate confirms ambassadorships nominated by the president. The process to elect a new mayor would be short, in the three to four-month range, but the timing on that election remains uncertain. There currently is a backlog for confirmations in the Senate.

Mayor Barrett delivered a short statement Wednesday afternoon. He said his full attention remains on his mayoral duties and obligations between the nomination and Senate confirmation.

“As a lifelong Milwaukeean, I will bring the values of our community to this new posting - values we share such as hard work, honesty, and caring for others. I am proud that in my time as mayor, we’ve made progress on so many fronts, including economic development, racial equity, our pandemic response, our city infrastructure and environmental sustainability,” Barrett said.

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson issued a statement following the announcement, saying “We will continue to work closely with the Mayor during this time of transition. Until he decides to step down he will remain in that position, and the business at City Hall will continue.”

Barrett first became mayor 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 Governor 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.

Mayor Barrett reflects on Milwaukee’s first COVID-19 case one year later

Mayor Barrett was at Luxembourg Fest in Belgium, Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, organizers tell us. Barrett said then he was taking the day off and checking the festival out. The Luxembourg Ambassador to the U.S. was also at the festival.

Luxembourg American Cultural Society Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was at Luxembourg Fest in Belgium, Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, organizers tell us.

Luxembourg is a Western European nation that lies between France and Germany. It is slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island and about half the size of Delaware, according to the CIA World Factbook. 640,000 ‘Luxembourgers’ call the country home. Milwaukee’s population in 2019 was 594,548.

Luxembourg is the second richest country in the world, has the highest minimum wage in the European Union and nearly half of the workforce commutes in to work from another country.


Barrett’s departure is expected to cause a political vacuum in Milwaukee politics, as TMJ4’s Steve Chamraz points out:

:: @MayorOfMKE’s departure would create a political vacuum.

After 2004, he dominated at the ballot box.


Barrett 63%@SenTaylor 37%


Barrett 70%@AldermanDonovan 30%


Barrett 71%

Edward McDonald 29%


Barrett 79%

Andrew Shaw 21%


Barrett 53%

Marvin Pratt 46% — Steve Chamraz (@TMJ4Steve) August 26, 2021

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Mayor Barrett nominated as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg

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President Joe Biden will nominate longtime Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett as the new United States ambassador to Luxembourg.

Barrett has served as mayor of Milwaukee since 2004, most recently winning his reelection campaign in April 2020 over state senator Lena Taylor.

“I am honored by the president’s actions and humbled by the trust President Biden has placed in me,” Barrett said at a press conference held early Wednesday evening at the mayor’s office. “If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to the opportunity to serve the interests of the United States and President Biden.”

Barrett’s nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate before he officially departs as mayor and takes the position as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg – a process many expect will take months.

As for the position he will eventually vacate, once Barrett is confirmed as ambassador and steps down, Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson would take over as acting mayor as the next in the line of succession while a special election would need to be called to determine Barrett’s replacement. When Barrett will step down and when the special election will take place have yet to be determined or announced.

“It is a remarkable privilege to be the mayor of Milwaukee. In the period between my nomination and final Senate consideration, I will continue to focus my full attention on mayoral duties, my obligations to the people of this great city,” Barrett said in Wednesday’s press conference.

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates. In the meantime, here’s some information on the country that just snatched away our mayor: