Barrett, Johnson turn focus to transition of power following ambassadorship confirmation

NOW: Barrett, Johnson turn focus to transition of power following ambassadorship confirmation

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Before the era of Tom Barrett as the Milwaukee mayor ends, a transition of power to his successor must begin.

Barrett spoke with reporters on Friday, Dec. 17 for the first time since he was confirmed by the Senate as the next U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.

"I am extremely thankful to President Biden for placing his trust in me," Barrett said.

The mayor also expressed gratitude to Wisconsin senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson who he said were instrumental in helping push through his confirmation in the Senate.

Now Barrett's focus turns to handing off power to Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson who will take over as interim mayor.

"The last 18 hours I've had several conversations with President Johnson to ensure a very smooth transition," Barrett told reporters. "I have every confidence that we will have a very smooth transition."

Part of that transition includes coordination with the White House to align Barrett's resignation as mayor, his appointment as ambassador and the handoff to Johnson as mayor.

The aim is to complete the transition by Dec. 28 so the special election for mayor may coincide with already scheduled spring elections, potentially saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But whenever, the transition of power does occur, Johnson told reporters at a news conference, he believes he is prepared thanks to months of communication with Barrett.

"I've worked with and have spoken with and have met with virtually every, I think all, now, department heads in the city of Milwaukee," Johnson said. "So I think the transition is going to be seamless, it's going to be smooth between the Barrett administration and my own administration."

Barrett said being mayor of the city is a "dream come true" but he is looking forward to the next chapter of his political career.

"I've worked as hard as I can for as long as I can in this job, and I absolutely love it," Barrett said. "But all things must pass."

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