State's commerce secretary steps down
Wisconsin's commerce secretary, 52-year-old Richard Leinenkugel, steps down from the agency Friday. Speculation says the move may be so he can run for political office; he says he'll make his intentions known in a couple weeks. Leinenkugel has spent the last 18 months trying to help a Wisconsin economy that was hit hard by the recession. The state lost over 160,000 jobs at its lowest point, and the unemployment rate more than doubled to almost 9%. Leinenkugel defended his record, saying he was part of the state's effort to keep Mercury Marine of Fond du Lac from moving to Oklahoma. He said Wisconsin couldn't avoid the effects of the national downturn, which he said was arguably the worst since the Great Depression. Leinenkugel was a vice-president of his family's brewery in Chippewa Falls when he took the commerce job. Governor Jim Doyle said Leinenkugel's agency has worked hard to attract new businesses and jobs. Doyle's office says the governor expects to name a new secretary soon.