Wisconsin DOT executive fired

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A high-ranking Wisconsin Department of Transportation official has been fired after making inflammatory comments on Facebook.

Assistant Deputy Secretary Steven Krieser is no longer working at the department after making the controversial comments on a Facebook thread started by Democratic Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, where he posted a picture of a controversial bumper sticker he found at a gas station.

The sticker printed with text calling it a “illegal immigrant hunting permit” was sold at a Germantown gas station, and Hintz says he posted a photo of it to start a dialogue on how inappropriate it was.

The photo inspired a lengthy post by Krieser, where he shared what he thought were many problems caused by illegal immigration.  Responding to an earlier comment saying that Jesus was considered an immigrant, Krieser ultimately ended his post by saying, “You may see Jesus when you look at them.  I see Satan.  And if they don’t like it here, hey, the door they came through to get here swings both ways.”

Hintz said he saw the comments and originally didn’t know who posted them.

“I think there’s a discourse that can be had on what we should do on the issue of immigration,” said Hintz.  “But like the sticker itself, some of the comments were so hateful and dehumanizing that it was something that was disappointing.”

Krieser was fired from his position at the DOT Thursday, and a spokesman for the agency declined to elaborate on the “personnel matter.”

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said in a statement Krieser’s remarks are repugnant and unacceptable. He said Walker condemns Krieser’s views and they don’t represent the governor in any way.

Krieser responded to a call from WISC-TV in a statement saying he was deeply sorry for his hurtful comments. He apologized and said “I have learned from this humbling situation, and can ask only that people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

Krieser was making nearly $97,971 a year in his state position.

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