On January 9, Governor Tony Evers announced the appointment of James Bond to the position of secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, making him the first openly LGBTQ+ person to lead one of the state’s cabinet agencies, according to a press release from the Office of the Governor. Bond, who is himself a disabled veteran, “served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. from 1983 to 1988 with assignments home and abroad,” according to the Office of the Governor. This appointment is a promotion after Bond served as the deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) under Secretary Mary Kolar, who has retired.
From 2010 to 2019, Bond served as the administrator of the Divisions of Veterans Benefits and Veteran Services. He was appointed to the position of deputy secretary in 2019. Bond was previously employed at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as the deputy division administrator in the Divisions of Employment and Training and Family Supports, and as the bureau director of management services in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
In the press release, Gov. Evers praised Bond for his service and experience: “James has been a dedicated leader at DVA for over a decade and has served the Department and Wisconsin veterans well as deputy secretary,” said Gov. Evers. “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. I look forward to continuing our work together to serve Wisconsin’s more than 300,000 veterans and ensure they receive the benefits, support, and resources they have earned through their service to be successful in their civilian lives.”
The press release continues with Secretary-designee James Bond thanking the governor for the appointment. He continues with, “I have built a career in service—service to my country, the state of Wisconsin, and to fellow veterans. As secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, I will continue in this vein and work with veteran advocates across 72 counties and 11 Tribal Nations to deliver benefits and services veterans have earned, tell their stories, and honor their contributions. Together, we will forge a better future for all Wisconsin veterans and their families.”