Milwaukee mayor nominated as next US ambassador

President Joe Biden has selected Tom Barrett as the successor to Randy Evans as ambassador to Luxembourg.

The White House has announced that the longest serving mayor in the United States, Thomas Barret of Milwaukee, has been nominated by president Joe Biden to be the “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg”. If successful, Barret would succeed Randy Evans in the role. Evans, appointed by Donald Trump, left Luxembourg in January after serving two-and-a-half years in office.

The 67-year old Barret, who has been the mayor of Wisconsin’s largest city since 2004, has also served five terms as a member of the House of Representatives and was a state senator and state representative in Wisconsin. He also ran for governor of Wisconsin in 2002 but lost the Democrat nomination to eventual governor Jim Doyle.

In 2010 Barret did land the nomination, after reportedly having the support of then-president Barack Obama. But he ended up losing the gubernatorial race to his Republican opponent Scott Walker, polling 46.5% of the vote compared to Walker’s 52.3%. A recall election in 2012 saw Walker defeat Barrett again by a similar margin.

“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 White House said in a statement announcing his nomination.

Barret is married to Kris Barret and has four adult children who all attended Milwaukee German Immersion School (Barrett’s mother was of German–English origin).

Wisconsin has strong connections with the grand duchy, as it was one of the major destinations of emigrants from Luxembourg in the 19th century. The Luxembourg American Cultural Center, which includes a Roots and Leaves Immigration Museum, is located in the town of Belgium, Wisconsin, and hosts an annual Luxembourg festival in mid-August.