(The Center Square) – One Wisconsin state senator wants to know what a woman who went to college to be an art teacher knows about infectious diseases.
Republican Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater demanded answers from Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm about Stephanie Smiley, who heads the state’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases.
“Gov. [Tony] Evers has repeatedly told the public that his administration is ‘following the science’ and relying on experts,” Nass said Wednesday. “However, the person in charge of the state’s daily fight against COVID-19 has no medical or scientific training or degrees.”
Smiley currently holds both the job of Bureau of Communicable Diseases director and the interim administrator of the Division of Public Health. Nass says Smiley got a degree in art teacher education from UW-Madison and a masters in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, but has no formal medical or scientific education.
“Ms. Smiley leads the Communicable Diseases Bureau but has no education, training or experiences that would seem to make her qualified to serve in that role,” Nass said. “She is also serving as the overall Administrator for the Division of Public Health and clearly lacks any known basis for serving in that role, as well.”
Nass said the Department of Health Services defines the job of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases as:
“Promotes efforts to prevent and control communicable diseases among Wisconsin citizens. Implements surveillance, control, and prevention measures; assists local health departments, health care providers, and citizens to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases; maintains a statewide surveillance system; assists in early identification and intervention of communicable diseases; and informs the public about ways to prevent and control communicable diseases.”
Nass said Smiley was the communications director at DHS before her promotions. He wants to know why and how those promotions happened.
“Governor Evers and DHS Secretary-Designee Palm need to answer serious questions regarding the personnel at DHS serving in vital roles without the appropriate education, training or experience,” Nass said.