Evers’ cabinet pick defends professional and personal experience

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MADISON (WKOW) — Gov. Tony Evers’ pick to lead the Department of Safety and Professional Services defended herself today in front of lawmakers after being criticized for felony child abuse charges in 2005.

The charge against Dawn Crim was dismissed and was never proven in court. Instead, she was given a deferred prosecution, which she completed. 

Crim testified in front of the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing, and State-Federal Relations. Even before lawmakers asked her past, she acknowledged she made a mistake 14 years ago and let everyone in the room it won’t impact her ability to lead the department.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” said Crim. “I have taken responsibilities for my actions and I vowed that it would never happen again and it hasn’t.”

Beyond her personal life, Chairman of the committee Sen. Chris Kapenga said he’s concerned about Crim’s professional experience. The DSPS enforces building safety laws, regulates and issues licenses to a range of professionals and businesses.

“There were some questions about her experience — does she have the experience necessary to run DSPS,” said Sen. Kapenga. 

Before working at DSPS, she was the assistant state superintendent for the Division of Student and School Success at Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Prior to that, she spent 20 years working with the University of Wisconsin. She said her work included enforcing standards at the UW, especially overseeing the use of the logo making sure those you use it to follow certain guidelines.

After Crim’s testimony, members were split on whether to support her nomination.

Kapenga said he’s not sure where his vote stands. Both Democrats on the committee are in support. Two Republicans, Sen. Devin LeMahieu is supportive while Sen. Dave Craig still needs to think about it.

Crim will ultimately face a full vote in the State Senate if she’ll be confirmed to the post.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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