By Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
Saying he wants to finish what he started as a public servant, former Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle announced his candidacy for the 15th district aldermanic seat vacated earlier this month by former Alderman and Common Council President Willie Hines.
Biddle, who is currently the political and organizing director for SEIU local 150, made his announcement at Coffee Makes U Black coffeehouse and café, located at 2803 N. Teutonia Ave., last week. Biddle joins three other announced candidates vying for the aldermanic seat Hines vacated to become associate director of the Milwaukee Housing Authority: Milwaukee County Sup. Russell Stamper II, Deshea Agee and Patricia Ruiz.
With the announcement of the four candidates (and possibly one or two more), a primary election will be held April 1. The special election will be held April 29. The inclement weather did not deter the impressive turnout of young Black and White professionals, students, older supporters, and elected officials who came out to show their support.
This is Biddle’s second attempt to win the aldermanic seat. In 2012, Biddle gave up his supervisory position to take on Hines, losing the aldermanic race by only 200 votes, garnering 40% of the votes. “I’m the best person for the job and it has nothing to do with my swagger, but what I accomplished as a supervisor in one year,” Biddle said to the gathering.
“Give me two years (the remaining time in Hines’ tenure) in the Common Council and see what gets done.” Biddle said during his one year on the County Board, he introduced 12 pieces of legislation. One of those pieces of legislation was the $20 million “Ready to Work” program, domestic partnership legislation, the “Ban the Box” initiative to help released felons get jobs, and legislation that created a one million dollar fund to help minority small businesses.
“We need serious leaders who will get things done in the 15th district; this (election) is about the people of the 15th district.” Biddle said Milwaukee can’t be a great city if it denies 44% of the city’s population what he called the “Milwaukee Promise”: The right to live as dignified human beings, have good schools, own a home, have the opportunity to get a job or start a business, public safety, and the right not be harassed by police.
Biddle said he has met people in the district who admitted they didn’t vote for him in 2012. “But I believe they will vote for me this time. “We can do great things,” Biddle concluded. “I’m not afraid of anything. I will deliver the Milwaukee promise to every person in the 15th district.”