MILWAUKEE “ Today, life-long Milwaukee resident and local elected leader David Bowen announced his candidacy for Wisconsin’s 10th Assembly District, which includes Milwaukee’s North Side and the Village of Shorewood. He released the following statement regarding his announcement:
As a life-long resident of Milwaukee and local elected leader within our community, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the residents of the 10th Assembly District, said Bowen. In the State Assembly, I will continue my steadfast efforts to create family-supporting jobs, promote quality education and services for our children, build healthy and thriving communities, and expand economic opportunity for all.
One of Bowen’s hallmark achievements while serving on the Milwaukee County Board was shepherding passage of a living wage ordinance for the lowest paid workers at Milwaukee County.
While I am proud of my achievements to support everyday families in Milwaukee County, much work remains to be done on the state level to support good family sustaining jobs, noted Bowen. Milwaukee’s hard working families deserve a long overdue raise, and I will fight to expand economic opportunity to Milwaukee and Wisconsin workers alike.
Bowen made his announcement in light of State Rep. Sandy Pasch (Shorewood) recently announcing that she will not seek re-election to the 10th Assembly District seat, which she currently holds.
Rep. Pasch has been a champion for Milwaukee and its communities throughout her time in office, and I thank her for her tireless dedication and service, said Bowen. I am excited to fight for our shared values and priorities. I look forward to earning the trust of our neighbors throughout the 10th Assembly District as I talk to thousands of community members beyond those I already represent in the County Board’s 10th District.
Born and raised on Milwaukee’s North Side, David attended Milwaukee Public Schools and was an honors graduate of Bradley Tech High School.
As a teen and young adult, David completed Urban Underground’s youth leadership program and later become its Program Director while pursuing an undergraduate degree in Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. He is a National Americorps Service Alum, a two-time graduate of the Americorps program Public Allies, and a
Legacy Foundation Youth Activism Fellow.
A nationally recognized trainer for intergenerational community improvement strategies, David served on the Medical College of
Wisconsin’s Violence Prevention Initiative Steering Committee and the City of Milwaukee’s Homicide Review Commission.
In 2012, he was elected to the Milwaukee County Board as Supervisor for the 10th District, becoming the youngest member of the Board and one of the youngest Black elected officials in Milwaukee’s history. David serves on several County Board committees including Finance & Personnel, Health & Human Needs and Economic & Community Development as Vice-Chair.
We look forward to a great campaign up to Election Day in August with your support! It is because of your help David has made it this far. Please continue your support to get proven progressive leadership in Madison where its desperately needed to fight for our community!
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The nation is currently undergoing a slow, but steady, recovery from the Great Recession. In 2010, Scott Walker promised Wisconsin would be at the forefront of that recovery by creating 250,000 jobs. Four years later that promise is infamous, Walker isn’t even halfway there more than three years into his term, an ever present reminder of his failure to create jobs.
In his first term as governor, Scott Walker has failed miserably at protecting the economic security of the middle class and providing opportunity for more to join the middle class. As the state continues to create jobs at half the rate of the national average, families in every corner of the state are struggling to keep up with bills and put food on the table.
The most recent quarterly jobs data ranks Wisconsin at 35th in the nation in job creation. Walker’s administration touts that ranking as an indicator of success , but the adjusted quarterly jobs data shows that Wisconsin actually fell from 34th to 35th in the nation. Walker’s cherry-picked measurements spin the data to give the illusion of economic improvement, but when looking at the entire picture one thing is clear; Walker’s jobs failure is even worse than previously thought. A certain lowlight of the latest jobs report is data on the state’s biggest and most important economic sector: Manufacturing. Over the most recent 12-month period, Wisconsin actually lost nearly 700 manufacturing jobs, and gained zero total private sector jobs in January, the same month Walker claimed the state’s economy was doing “dramatically better”.
The state’s manufacturing industry once provided jobs that increased economic security for thousands of working class households. Communities in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha especially benefited from the steady employment and family sustaining incomes the industry provided. In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, manufacturing jobs go by the wayside, while food-service continues to be one of the few growing industries. Walker adamantly opposes raising the minimum wage in Wisconsin or at the federal level to help struggling families, but the jobs data shows minimum wage waitstaff jobs are often their only viable option.
When the governor promised to create new jobs in Wisconsin, few thought he meant mostly low wage positions that leave people underemployed and forced to work more than one job just to keep the lights on. In the last year of the governor’s first term, Wisconsin families are still struggling to make their dollars stretch, and few would agree with Walker’s assessment that the state is “still doing much better than we were doing previously.”
Wisconsin’s jobs picture is a far cry from when Walker took office - the state held an 11th in the nation job growth ranking in January 2011. Four years later, its apparent that Walker had no real plan to create jobs when he was elected and is completely out of touch with the needs of everyday people in the state.
Attention that should have been given to a serious economic policy that invested in education, innovation, and infrastructure, instead went to ensuring political favors for corporate allies, election rigging, and a stealthy pursuit of a radical social agenda. By any standard, Scott Walker hasn’t lived up to his promise on job creation. Wisconsin has moved backwards during his first term and is falling further behind each day.
What Walker sees as success, working class families know is a failure. People know they shouldn’t have to work two jobs at minimum wage just to keep their heads above water. Working class families won’t be fooled on Election day; all of the spin and political gimmicks in the world can’t put food on the table or pay the bills. People remember when Wisconsin was 11th in the nation in job creation and had more than 70,000 jobs than we have in the state today. We all remember better times, and we know that Wisconsin can do more to get people back to work.
There’s an election on April 1. It may not seem like a major one. But there’s a question on the ballot in Milwaukee County that’s critical to our future. In legalese, the ballot takes 128 words to ask this: Starting with the next election of County Board Supervisors, should all their salaries be cut in half, from about $51,000 to about $24,000 with no health insurance?
The referendum is part of Act 14, a ploy by conservatives in the Legislature, County Executive Chris Abele, and the powerful downtown business interests (the GMC and MMAC) to prevent the Board from passing progressive legislation. From 2003 to 2013, I worked as an aide at the County Board – under Supervisors Roger Quindel, John Thomas, and David Bowen. I found it a great place to work. But before I retired at the end of 2013, I saw Act 14 begin to cripple the Board. County government is a living piece of American democracy. Act 14 is an affront to democracy. The Board and the Executive exercise checks and balances – oversight to keep each other honest. But Act 14 weakens the Board. When one branch is weakened, both branches are more likely to make bad decisions.
Starting in 2016, Act 14 cuts Supervisors’ terms to two years, disrupting their work with costly election campaigns twice as often as the Executive. Increased turnover on the Board will result in new Supervisors unfamiliar with their jobs or ways to cope with moves made by the Executive. Act 14 also stops their pension, severely limits their office budget, guts their staff, and takes away parts of their authority. If this referendum passes, it will slash their salary and cut off their health insurance. It applies to Milwaukee County and its Board only – no other county in the state.
What the County Board Does. County Supervisor is no cushy job. Each Supervisor has oversight over some 25 county departments that run our bus system and our airports, the zoo, four museums, the War Memorial and Marcus Center; care for our elders and our physically and mentally disabled and addicted; promote economic development, urban agriculture, and our disadvantaged businesses; construct and maintain county roads and our parks; the Sheriff’s department, our courts, the District Attorney; and more, with about 5,000 fulltime employees. Each month, Supervisors – individually, in committees, and then as an entire board – analyze dozens of issues and proposals, make dozens of financial decisions, vet dozens of decisions made by others, and find themselves in dilemmas, some in which all possible choices are painful. We-the-people can speak our minds to Supervisors and testify at the committee meetings. Our County Supervisors reflect the electorate and the values of this community. Among those values is the ability to support oneself by working. The Board fights to protect workers and to help the weakest and least fortunate among us.
The interests of citizens, both affluent and poor, of color and otherwise, have been well represented on the Board. As a result, the rights of minorities and low-income residents are often in the forefront and these groups have some power. Supervisors whose districts include the inner, less affluent areas of the county spend time helping residents and businesses build alliances to compete with the wealthy power structure that ignores or discounts them.
County Supervisors of color contribute vitally to communities of color and the county as a whole. David Bowen, for example, brings an energetic focus on injustice and the needs of our youth. Russell Stamper II carries a passion to better our poorest neighborhoods. Michael Mayo brings experience with transportation issues. The Board has unanimously adopted a measure by Khalif Rainey, requiring that contracts be preceded by research on their impact upon the county’s women, disabled, elderly, and racial and ethnic minorities. Peggy Romo West champions health care and the Kozy Community Center and is a strong voice for our Hispanic people. With humility and dedication, Willie Johnson chairs the all-important Finance Committee and represents all of us on numerous boards and committees statewide.
I respect Supervisors for the hard work we expect from them and get from them. The folks in their districts include many of our poorest. Should these Supervisors have to juggle one or more additional jobs at the same time they’re fighting to give their constituents the tools to make a living and a good life? I don’t believe so. The Board’s Accomplishments. What makes me believe Supervisors are worth $51,000 a year?
From the past 10 years, here’s a possible Top 10 List of the Board’s accomplishments, most of them over opposition from County Executive Chris Abele or Scott Walker:
1. Gave $10 million to save the War Memorial and the Art Museum’s collection.
2. Twice shot down Walker’s proposals for parking meters along Lincoln Memorial Drive.
3. Saved Pulaski and Noyes indoor pools for seniors when Walker and Abele tried to shut them down.
4. Saved bus routes when Walker tried to curtail them.
5. Funded Sup. Roger Quindel’s idea, a County Youth Sports Authority, enabling adult volunteers to provide organized training and competition for many hundreds of kids.
6. Removed the House of Correction from Sheriff Clarke, to emphasize rehabilitation.
7. Switched employees’ health insurance from a corporate provider to self insurance by the County, saving at least $37 million.
8. Became one of the first governments in the USA to adopt a Living Wage ordinance for County workers and contract employees, at $11.32 an hour.
9. Rejected Walker’s 25-year $400 million lease of St. Michael’s Hospital for mental health.
10. Enabled 500 new workers to train for and take jobs averaging $18 an hour through WRTP/Big Step.
If those aren’t enough good reasons to Vote NO, here are some more:
1. In a county of nearly a million people, both urban and suburban, Supervisor is a rigorous, multifaceted, fulltime job with responsibility for millions of our tax dollars.
2. We need both branches working smoothly and vigorously, so they can check and balance each other. This vote is part of Act 14, a law that interferes with democratic process.
3. The Legislature singled out Milwaukee unfairly, as they’ve done with residency and education.
4. Poorly paid elected positions are unaffordable by good candidates, particularly minorities, who aren’t wealthy.
5. Poorly paid elected positions will attract candidates who don’t need the money and are oriented toward wealthier constituents.
6. State assemblypersons are paid about $50,000 and Milwaukee alderpersons make $78,000. The job of Supervisor deserves a reasonably comparable salary.
7. Poor pay can tempt officials to excuse themselves for ethical lapses and corruption.
8. If we only pay our employees for part-time work, should we expect them to be fulltime workers?
9. If one or two employees do unsatisfactory work, does it help to cut everyone’s salary?
10. Overseeing department professionals who make six-figure salaries, should Supervisors be expected to work for charity wages?
Each Supervisor represents 54,000 constituents. At their current a salary of about $51,000, you could say that they’re paid about one dollar a year per constituent. Isn’t a good Supervisor worth a dollar a year to you? Or would you vote YES and buy the 50-cent discount model? After five years as a County Board aide, I made about $24,000 a year. I can’t imagine an elected official, who’s responsible to the people 24-7, getting no group insurance or pension, yet getting the same pay that I made as an aide.
When you try to contact a Supervisor, how long do you expect to wait for them, or at least an aide, to get back to you? Supervisors with fewer staff are already less able to engage with individuals and groups in their district. If this referendum passes, it will be harder for us to reach them and for them to reach us. It will open the door wide to wealthier candidates and close the door to candidates of limited means. If you or anyone in your family would ever feel a calling to run for office, would you be encouraged or discouraged to know that it paid part-time wages, offered no benefits, and you’d have to hold another job at the same time?
The Republicans say this vote will allow us to taking fulltime salaries away from part-time workers. In reality, its effect would be the opposite: relegating fulltime workers to part-time salaries. If we pay Supervisors less, we’ll get less from them and be less able to hold the Executive and other power brokers accountable. Vote NO on April 1. Turnout will be low, so your voice will be loud. Larry Hoffman recently retired after ten years as a legislative aide for the County Board. Prior to that, he was an elementary school teacher who, having earned a Ph.D., did research in education at UWM. As a devoted teacher, his pay was generally low and his hours long.
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors recently honored two legends of politics and civil rights, presenting awards to Vel Phillips (pictured above at left with members of the Board) and noted historian and founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum Dr. James Cameron postumously. Members of the Cameron family were on hand to receive the award for late historian (left to right): Daughter Dolores Cameron, son Virgil Cameron and daughter-in-law Carolyn Cameron.
Candidates for Municipal or County Circuit Court judgeships can’t make promises about how they would rule on cases if elected to the bench, let alone give their opinion about volatile political issues. To do so would compromise his or hers ability to make fair and impartial rulings as a judge, thus disqualifying them to hear cases they might have previously commented on in the media.
The only thing a judicial candidate has to make his or her case before the voters—especially first time candidates for the bench—is their integrity, not to mention their experience as trial attorneys or county court commissioners. Judicial candidates use these positions to impress enough law enforcement unions, labor unions, defense attorneys and prosecutors, judges and activists to endorse their candidacy. Another important area judicial candidates emphasize to capture votes is their consistent community involvement: sitting on boards of organizations that focus on issues impacting youth and education, the judicial system, the faith-based community, as well as volunteers doing hands-on, grass-roots work “in the trenches.”
Judging from his resume’, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner and Circuit Court Candidate Cedric S. Cornwall seems to meet those aforementioned qualifications. Cornwall is running for the Branch 32 Milwaukee County Circuit Court bench held by outing Judge Michael Guolee, who will retire this year.
“When you look at my support, it’s broad-based,” Cornwall said in a recent interview conducted at the MCJ’s offices. “I have unions and law enforcement that reflects my background as a court commissioner.” Cornwall currently serves as a Milwaukee County Judicial Court Commissioner. Court Commissioners are appointed by the Milwaukee County Chief Circuit Court Judge. As a court commissioner, Cornwall presides over hearings in Children’s Court, Small Claims Court, Intake Court, Preliminary Hearing Court, and Traffic Court. He is currently assigned to the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center, where he conducts settlement conferences, delinquency hearings and permanency plan review hearings in delinquency and CHIPS cases.
“The Judicial Court Commissioner does a lot of ‘up-front’ work on cases that, if they can’t be resolved by me or other court commissioners are forwarded to an assigned circuit court judge,” Cornwall explained. “I’ve presided over tens of thousands of court hearings, and there have been no complaints by the public or attorneys. I think that speaks volumes,” Cornwall said.
A native of Mississippi, Cornwall is a graduate of Marquette University’s law school and has been a Milwaukee County resident for 30 years. Cornwall has practiced law in the area for 27 years and was a founding partner in the law firm of Cornwall, Rhiel, and Yamahiro, and a solo-practitioner in a general practiced law firm, where he gained extensive trial experience in criminal, juvenile, traffic, and supervision revocation cases. Cornwall was also the manager of the City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission and in the Trial Division of the Office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender.
Such an extensive background and wealth of experience reveals a candidate--in Cornwall--who has a deep commitment to public service, a commitment that started after he graduated from law school. “I’m running for the Branch 32 bench because I want to continue public service to the people of Milwaukee County.
“I’m committed to maintaining the highest standard of professionalism, and I will always strive to give the highest level of respect to those who would appear before me. As a court commissioner, I’ve made sure everyone who came before me got their day in court and were heard. (As a Circuit Court Judge) I’m going to be fair and open minded.” Cornwell added, if elected, he will interpret the law and apply it to the facts of each case that comes before him.
Asked about his chances in attaining the court seat, Cornwall said they were good given the support he has garnered during the last 10 months he has been doing grass-roots campaigning. “I’m fortunate to have volunteers who are committed to the same ideals I have. “I’m confident when the voters hear my background, they will see I’m the right candidate they should vote for. I think I have the judicial temperment and work ethic that voters will recognize and appreciate.”
The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently warned taxpayers about a scam in which crooks posing as IRS agents have called taxpayers demanding immediate tax payments via debit cards or wire transfers and threatening arrest or other penalties. In light of these reports, Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler is reminding Wisconsin taxpayers that the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) does not initiate taxpayer communications through email or request detailed
personal information by phone or email.
Chandler stated, “We do not email or call you to request your social security number, PIN numbers, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts. Our policies are similar to the IRS policies. If you owe taxes, DOR will have notified you by U.S. mail – not email or phone. DOR does not ask for payment via debit card or wire transfer. DOR does not ask you to provide a credit card number over the phone. And DOR never requests personal or financial information by
text or social media.”
Brendan Conway, Communications Director
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele thanks the State Assembly for resoundingly passing a bill that will create an independent board of experts to oversee the Behavioral Health Hospital and help facilitate progress toward the community-based model of care used across the country.
The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board bill was approved in the Assembly 89 – 1. It passed unanimously in the State Senate last week.
“It’s encouraging to see near unanimous support from both parties for this important change. This legislation ensures that providing the best system of care to those in need will no longer come second to any other priority,” County Executive Abele said. “I want to especially thank Representatives Joe Sanfelippo and Sandy Pasch and Senators Leah Vukmir, Lena Taylor and Tim Carpenter for their leadership on this issue.”
Article compiled by MCJ Staff
Two Milwaukee Alderpersons are urging the state Assembly to reject a bill passed by the Republican controlled state Senate last week restricting early voting hours available to Milwaukee residents to vote during non-work day hours.
Calling the legislation --Senate Bill (SB) 324--”shameful and hypocritical,” Alderwoman Milele Coggs and Alderman Willie C. Wade attacked the senate’s actions in a joint press statement. The bill would prohibit local election officials from allowing people to vote early in-person at their municipal clerk’s office via absentee ballot before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on weekdays or for more than 45 hours per week. Weekend in-person absentee voting would be banned. Early in-person voting has become increasingly popular in recent years as a convenient way for voters to do their civic duty and cast a ballot in elections.
Early voting can also help reduce election day overcrowding at polling locations and provide a convenient, accessible option for seniors and persons with disabilities to cast their ballot. The impact of an early voting ban would fall especially hard on urban areas of the state with large minority populations. In the statement, the alderpersons noted the attempt to suppress or limit the right to vote not only negatively impacts city residents, but also hundreds of thousands of other state residents.
“It is obvious that they (Republican members of the Senate) are trying to affect the outcomes of the upcoming fall state elections by creating laws to fix or alter the outcomes of their own elections (including the Governor’s race),” Coggs and Wade said. “Such self-serving actions should not be allowed.”
The alderpersons pointed out current state law allows just one location for in-person absentee voting per municipality which, they say, explains the lines outside the Zeidler Municipal Building during early voting hours. “The limitation of one site per municipality, regardless of size, and the recent further restriction and limitation to the hours of operations, places a cap on the capacity of large municipalities like Milwaukee and Madison to respond to the increased public interest in voting early and the unique needs of residents in urban areas,” they said. As a result, the alderpersons believe the proposed restriction to hours, the percentage of in-person absentee voters in large municipalities like Milwaukee and Madison will likely decrease, while the percentages of other smaller municipalities, not affected by the cap on capacity, will continue to increase.
Both Coggs and Wade say their respective aldermanic districts--the sixth and seventh districts have the highest proportion of in-person absentee voters compared to the rest of Milwaukee. “If the change is approved, it will have a disproportionate, negative impact on voters in (our) districts.”
The alderperson’s claim of senate hypocricy is founded on records of the Government Accountability Board, which reveals 15 of the 17 Republican senators voting to roll back early voting have themselves voted early. In fact, bill author Sen. Glenn Grothman, has voted early seven times in the last decade, including twice in 2012.
“It seems the Republicans are all for equal access to the franchise, just so long as that voter is likely Republican,” said Scott Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now.
“We’re seeing the real fraud in Wisconsin elections on display as partisan politicians try to manipulate the rules on voting to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage,” Ross said.--Sources for this article: The Milwaukee Common Council and One Wisconsin Now.