By Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
In front of the home he owns in the Sherman Park Neighborhood where he grew up that rests in the 15th aldermanic district once represented by former Alderman and Common Council President Willie Hines, Milwaukee County Supervisor Russell Stamper II declared his candidacy for Hines’ now open seat on the Council.
Stamper is one of four individuals who announced in the past week their intention to run for the seat formerly held by Hines, who stepped down almost two week’s ago to accept a position as associate director with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee. “I believe in Milwaukee and the 15th district,” said Stamper. “I see a vibrant, healthy community. I love this city and I want to see it prosper.” Stamper also noted the multiple community based organizations, businesses and neighborhood groups within the district, which is bounded by Eighth to 51st Streets east and west; and Locust to Vliet Streets North and South. He said the presence of these entities in the district is proof of the commitment to make the district a better place to live, work and raise a family.
With supporters and his father, Judge Russell Stamper, Sr. standing behind him waving placards bearing his name, Stamper outlined his vision for the district, which includes clean, safe streets, economic opportunity, and quality schools for children. It’s a vision that reflects Stamper’s platform, which was formulated based on what resident’s of the district have told him they want to see. Stamper noted the crisis of foreclosed and abandoned housing, adding the city has 344 foreclosed homes. He added resources should come immediately to the district and the rest of the community to renovate the homes and rebuild neighborhoods.
The aldermanic candidate also touched on economic development such as restaurants and movie theatre in the 15th district that will create jobs and greater opportunity for business creation. Stamper also stressed the need for better police and community relations, adding he is a strong advocate for police accountability and holding them to a hire standard. Thanking Hines for his service, leadership and mentorship, Stamper offered his County Supervisor office to those in the 15th aldermanic district needing help with issues pertaining to city services. The three other candidates joining Stamper in the race to replace Hines are: Former Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle, Sr., Deshea Agee, an economic development specialist with the Department of City Development; and Patricia Ruiz.
On Tuesday, the new President of the Common Council, Michael J. Murphy, ordered a special election to be held on April 29, 2014 to fill the vacancy in the Fifteenth Aldermanic District. With four candidates having announced their intentions to run for the seat, a primary will be held on April 1, 2014 (coinciding with the regularly scheduled Spring Election date). Circulation of nomination papers for candidates began Tuesday of this week. Nomination papers must be filed no later than 5 p.m. March 4, 2014, in the office of the Election Commission, located at City Hall, 200 East Wells, Room 501, Milwaukee.