So, um, President Joe Biden has nominated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to be the new United States Ambassador to Luxembourg? Whaaaaaaa?

Here’s the official statement from the White House:


President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Two Leaders in U.S. Foreign Policy and Aid

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following two individuals to serve as key leaders on U.S. foreign policy and aid:

• Thomas Barrett, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

• Carla Koppell, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for Development, Democracy, and Innovation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Thomas Barrett, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Mayor of Milwaukee since 2004, Thomas Barrett is currently the nation’s longest-serving big city mayor. 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. He served five terms as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and was a State Senator and State Representative in Wisconsin. Barrett received a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. He clerked for the Honorable Robert W. Warren, Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Carla Koppell, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for Development, Democracy, and Innovation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Carla Koppell is an international affairs expert focused on development assistance and conflict resolution. Currently, Koppell is a Senior Advisor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a distinguished fellow with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Previously, she served in government as USAID Chief Strategy Officer; inaugural USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Affairs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and USAID climate change program director. Koppell was also a Vice President with the U.S. Institute of Peace, and director of the Institute for Inclusive Security.

In earlier roles, Koppell helped spearhead creation of the first U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and the first USAID climate change strategy, in addition to convening leaders around non-traditional threats to global stability and national security, including pandemics, climate change, and economic and social disparities. She has worked directly with women and civil society leaders to foster peace building in conflict zones around the world, including in Sudan and South Sudan, Uganda, Colombia, and Iraq. Koppell received her Bachelor’s of Science from Cornell University and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.


The news was first leaked by radio talk show host Dan O’Donnell, and later confirmed by TMJ4 News and the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Urban Milwaukee notes that “once Barrett steps down, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson would become acting mayor until a special election is called. He would not have to resign from his council seat to become acting mayor, but could not vote during the time he is acting mayor.”

Barrett was first elected mayor in 2004. He was re-elected in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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