Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff
Recalling the Milwaukee she knew growing up and the sense of unity and neighborhood that shaped her—and wants to reconnect to—state Sen. Lena Taylor announced her candidacy for mayor of the state’s largest city in 2020.
Making the announcement during a news conference in front of her Capitol Drive home as family, neighbors and supporters looked on, Taylor said Milwaukee is at a crossroads and cited what she sees is a lack of action on the part of the presumptive incumbent mayor, Tom Barrett.
Barrett has not officially announced if he plans to seek re-election.
During the news conference, the four-term Democratic senator recounted fondly her childhood in a Milwaukee which, today, is a far cry from her early years.
“I could play double-dutch on the block. We could play hide-and-go seek. We could run in the neighbor’s yard,” Taylor said. “We could get apples and pears off the trees—and we had birthday parties with each other. That’s the Milwaukee I know. That’s the Milwaukee that made me. That’s the Milwaukee that I demand.”
Taylor said she is a child of Milwaukee—and not unique in her childhood experiences. “I am the Milwaukee that I know. I’m not (Tom) Barrett’s Milwaukee. I am the Milwaukee that allowed me to grow up and have access to opportunity. I think every child should have access to opportunity.”
Taylor, 53 and an attorney, has been critical of the mayor on a variety of fronts, charging that he is “disconnected” from the voters on issues of race, job creation, concerns over police conduct, income inequality and issues at the city’s health department.
Born and raised in the city, Taylor was first elected to the state Assembly in a special election in 2003 and was elected to the state Senate the next year.
She ran against and lost to Scott Walker in the 2008 Milwaukee County Executive race. In that election, Taylor carried the city by 5,000 votes.
When Walker was elected governor, she was one of several Democratic senators who fled the state in an effort to block a vote on Act 10, Walker’s legislation that limited the power of public employee unions.
Taylor will join a growing list of candidates vying for the city’s top job. Among the announced candidates is city Ald. Tony Zielinski and Alderman and Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton. Though he hasn’t yet formally announced his intentions, Hamilton has filed papers to run for the position.
It’s not clear whether Taylor will abandon plans to seek re-election to the Senate in the fall of 2020.
Sources for this article: MJS, WITI Fox6News, Fox11online.com