James Bond becomes Wisconsin’s first openly LGBTQ cabinet secretary

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Wisconsin history was made Monday when the number two man in the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs was elevated to the agency’s top job. With his appointment, James Bond will become the first openly LGBTQ person to head a cabinet agency in Wisconsin, the governor’s office indicated, citing a Legislative Reference Bureau review.

Bond, who served in the Marines from 1983 to 1988 and is a disabled veteran, was appointed as the state DVA’s Deputy Secretary in 2019, the governor’s office noted. Gov. Tony Evers appointed Bond following the retirement of former Secretary Mary Kolar.

“I have built a career in service—service to my country, the state of Wisconsin, and to fellow veterans,” Bond said while pledging to work with advocates in every county and in the Tribal Nations to support and honor veterans, and to tell their stories. “Together, we will forge a better future for all Wisconsin families and their families.”

The incoming Secretary-designee has been with the DVA since 2010 and, in addition to his role as deputy secretary, has served as the administrator of Veterans Benefits and Veterans Services. He has also served in leadership positions in the state’s Department of Workforce Development.

“As a veteran himself, along with his decades of state service, I have no doubt he will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and expertise to this role as secretary,” Gov. Tony Evers said in his announcement.

According to the governor’s statement, Bond will take over the agency starting Monday.

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