Millie Coby, one of four candidates vying for the redrawn 10th Assembly District, talks about the issues facing the district and what she would do if elected to the office during the first of six forum/debates to be held featuring the candidates running for a number of state Senate and Assembly seats at Coffee Makes U Black, 2803 N. Teutonia Ave. Listening intently to Coby are (left to right): State Senator Lena Taylor (who was on the panel in support of Coby. Her forum is slated for July 28), Sandy Pasch and Ieshuh Griffin. The fourth candidate, Harriet Callier, did not participate in the forum because she feared for her safety after being threatened with physical harm. Callier revealed the incident during the “Morning Magazine with Eric Von” radio show on 1290 WMCS AM. Read the profiles of some of the candidates running starting below. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
(Editor’s note: For the sake of full disclosure, 10th Assembly District 10 Candidate Harriet Callier has contributed articles to the Community Journal in the past.)
“Why Now? The questionable makeup of the 10th Assembly is a concern after the 2011 Redistricting and subsequent lawsuits.
“As the only individual to speak specifically for the 10th District at the State’s hearings last July, disenfranchisement and responsive representation were my key concerns the entire year leading up to this Primary.
“(Sheila Cochran, Gloria Rogers and a separate group identified as ‘Black conservatives” later dropped the claims for Blacks in the lawsuit.) Collectively, we must limit and eliminate the level to which conservative White, Black and Latina monies encroach and erode Milwaukee’s inner city neighborhoods.
“In a freshman’s two-year term, my work from that side of the desk must be focused and meaningful. The Shorewood neighborhoods are robust and established; they voice their needs through a Village Board. Shorewood will be heard because their system works well!
“Nearly 65% of the 10th District, however, leans toward a more transient Milwaukee—translating into a ‘freshman’ term even for Pasch who must relocate into the District and who has allowed Party/Union bosses to goad her into a bitter, baseless brawl against Black Democratic elected officials. To remain viable in office, the rift is a serious hurdle that Pasch must overcome quickly if Milwaukee residents are to experience her representation.
“What I Seek to Accomplish? The community and hospital industry are open to an overhaul of Milwaukee’s tape and glue healthcare system which has kept social service agencies afloat and literally killed residents on their feet. But our politicians must first believe that people DESERVE whole-system, relevant healthcare and must have the means to achieve it for Milwaukee. No one should be forced to receive treatment from providers who would rather not have them as patients.
“Equally important is the ability to infuse Milwaukee with 50,000+ additional jobs of varying skillsets—including many entry-level jobs.
“As other industries revive, jobs may not include insurance; adequate systems can be available to appropriately accommodate the employed uninsured/underinsured.
“In public/private partnerships around the country, I experienced enhanced training options with responsible, family-supporting transition away from W-2 and unemployment benefits.
“Unlike our current system, this approach can garner bi-partisan, industry-wide approval with enough benefits to sustain meaningful engagement for all parties.
“Presently, I am Adjunct Faculty in the Wisconsin Technical System. I was recruited to Milwaukee (2004) for a 3-year contract because of my work within federal healthcare grants—work that retained meaningful healthcare in challenged and changing communities around the country.
“My work with state-level agencies and federal /state legislators for corrective actions in the for-profit college industry was a cover story for AFT Union’s national magazine at a time when advocacy throughout the Country culminated in Pres. Obama signing into law the Gainful Employment modifications.
“My undergraduate degree is in Economics; graduate degree: Church Management (with post-graduate work in public health, education and public administration). My volunteer work includes a Northside manufacturing training project; K4-12 safety and environmental justice; Felmers Chaney Correctional Facility Advisory Board; NAACP Criminal Justice Chair and FUSM/MICAH 11×15 Project.
“Reared by a family of community activists, I have maintained a vested interest in Milwaukee after marrying (1984) a childhood friend who grew up on 2nd and Chambers. With a blended family, I have five children and seven grandchildren.”
“I am a Milwaukee native and a current resident of the 10th State Assembly District. I grew up around 24th and Capitol, which was part of the 10th District prior to 2011 redistricting.
“I have lived through some of the types of issues and experienced the needs of the people in the 10th district. As a teenager I experienced the death of both of my parents, after which I became homeless. My god-mothers Jeanetta Robinson (deceased) and the honorable Vel Phillips played an intricate part in my development.
“I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I received my Master’s degree in Community Education with emphasis on Urban Education and my Bachelor of Science degree in Education.
“I am an elected executive board member of the NAACP and an executive board member of Community Brainstorming Conference. I was an intern in the Criminal Division at the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.
“I am also an alumnus of Emerge Wisconsin, a training program to encourage and prepare women to run for political office. I have been in the ‘people business’ for over 20 years; whether I was marching down Wisconsin Ave. in the Justice for Jude March, or Madison being an advocate for people whose rights have been withheld, or motivational life coach for Career Youth Development or organizing and planning educational curriculums as well as working as an on-call substitute teacher for MPS in classrooms with underprivileged children with learning disabilities. I am also a member of Christian Faith Fellowship and Executive Director of Ecumenical-COGIC service.
“First on my agenda as State Representative is to fight to restore funds back to the public education system. Due to certain funds being removed from MPS, I moved to Shorewood so my son could continue his education in public schools. It is essential to our family’s future that we educate our youth so that they can be prepared for furthering their education and qualify for gainful employment.
“Another critical area is having Family supporting employment, there are many who will need to be re-trained as the jobs they were skilled in are no longer here. Funds need to be channeled towards retraining programs and Small businesses along with opportunities for youth and others to acquire new skills.
“I see the need to work with governmental programs that assist in creating clean environments for our families, this helps in providing a healthy and safe home environment for our kids, adults and seniors. Additionally, there is a great need for financial provision in assisting families who are struggling with losing their homes due to foreclosures.
“Helping people stay in their homes is not only good for our District, but it helps people to maintain dignity and independence.
“I am running for State Representative for Wisconsin’s 10th Assembly District because my life and my career experiences have prepared me for being able to relate and represent this culturally diverse district.
“I want to continue to carry on the vision of the great legacy that has come before me. I desire to be the constituents’ legislator, to be the voice for the people, I am a fighter In the community, For the community, From the community.”
• The only candidate that can readily provide the 10th District with a plan, a platform and a vision.
• The only candidate with the longest established relationship within the 10th district as an actual resident of the 10th District before, during and after redistricting.
• The only candidate that can TRULY relate to the struggles, the sacrifices and the sufferings that the majority of the constituents of the 10th District face on a daily basis.
Why are they running for office?
“I do not know the agendas of my opponents, but I’m running because of effects. The effects of poverty, the effects of racism, the effects of sexism, the effects of systematic oppressions.
“These effects are devastations. Devastations of poverty, unemployment & lack of service still are as prevalent in the 10th District now as it was when I was growing up surrounded by these astonishing facts. The 10th District remains in a dire situation as compared to the other districts within Milwaukee County.
“Assembly Member Elizabeth Coggs’s, who had not lived in the district prior, has chosen to abandon the seat for personal advancement in another district now.
“My opponents, like the current 10th district “representative” have not lived in the 10th district, are planning to move in the district if they were to win, or are now in the 10th district as a result of redistricting. The district is entitled to the proper & effective representation it deserves; this is why I am running.
“I will serve my constituents with a plan, a platform & a vision. The ‘Ieshuh For the People Plan’ includes but is NOT limited to (1) ‘M.E.N.D. US’ (Massive Economic Neighborhood Development Under Supervision).(2) “CCC’s” (Community Compliance Officers) (3) “Calendared Constituent Service Days’ which includes ‘All Your Woman Wednesdays; devoted to issues affecting women. (4) “The Up & Coming Post” (serving specifically the youth).
Serious issues going unaddressed
“An example of a serious issue going unaddressed by Wisconsin legislators, Black & White, democratic & republican, is the W-2 program, which may be violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Participants are working for $5.15 an hour yet minimum wage is well over $7.00 an hour. This is blatant discriminatory & unfair employment practices; as it is a ‘work’ program & not an ‘entitlement’. Poverty is a serious issue. Nearly two-thirds of all households in poverty in Wisconsin are headed by single women. A large concentration of that number resides within the 10th District. Milwaukee is the only city in Wisconsin repeatedly on the list of the top ten cities with the highest poverty rates. These vital issues need to be properly addressed & dealt with- with real results.
“Many issues are of great concern; from youth & elderly services (&/or lack thereof) to air quality, we’ve had over a dozen air quality advisories, dangerously unhealthy. Government accountability & transparency is important. The other side of the process; where government has to explain or justify what they have done or failed to do. Transparency increases balance, ensures fairness, integrity & lessens governmental corruption. The realities that exist in Milwaukee are brutal.
“I understand the hesitation many constituents have in exercising their vote. They’ve seen nothing but rotations of failed elected officials & it occurs so often that it is hard to identify with ‘an army of one’. I am the mentality of a different paradigm.”
“I have represented Milwaukee’s communities in the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2009 and currently serve as the Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader and chair of the Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus.
“During my two terms as a State Representative, I have focused on strengthening public education, improving health care, and creating family-sustaining jobs.
“I am a Milwaukee native, graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools, and resident of the area since 1986. I have three children, and my husband is a physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“I have been a practicing nurse since 1976 and have served for 15 years as Assistant Professor of Nursing at Columbia College of Nursing, instructing students in the fields of community health and mental health.
“I have been long been a proponent for treating mental health issues. I coordinated Milwaukee’s Crisis Intervention Team and was the founder of the Crisis Intervention Partner program. I also served four terms as president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Milwaukee, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness in Milwaukee.
“As current State Representative, Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus Chair, and Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader, I’m running for re-election to the State Assembly in the new 10th Assembly District so that I can continue to fight to preserve and promote the most important issues facing Milwaukee’s communities – putting people back to work, investing in quality public education, improving the health of our communities, and restoring faith and integrity in government by truly giving the people a voice.
“Fighting to improve the health of Milwaukee’s communities the primary reason why I first ran for office, and it continues to be my top priority as a leader for Milwaukee in the State Assembly.
“This includes fighting for jobs and economic equality, investing in public education at all levels, and ensuring affordable access to quality healthcare for all.
“As current State Representative, Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus Chair, and Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader, I have a strong and proven record of fighting for Milwaukee’s communities, values, and priorities. I would be honored to earn your support for re-election as your voice in the State Assembly.