MILWAUKEE — State Sen. Lena Taylor is looking to be Milwaukee’s next mayor.
Taylor (D-Milwaukee), who is currently serving her fourth term in the Wisconsin Senate, made the announcement Tuesday morning.
“I wake up every day to fight for every corner of our great city. We’ve overcome a decade of national economic hardship and caustic attacks from Madison politicians. We’ve sparked a renewal in Milwaukee that is reinvigorating our city center and our communities as well, investing hundreds of millions of dollars directly into our neighborhoods. Homicides and nonfatal shootings are down two years in a row. And we can’t stop now making this city a place that works for you, your family, your neighbors, and your hopes for the future.”
Taylor has been elected to the Wisconsin legislature for almost 15 years by a substantial portion of the City of Milwaukee. She has a substantial base and a strong following in her district. She is also black in a city minority-majority city. There are a few interesting dynamics at play here:
First, Taylor is not in step with the modern liberal Democratic Party of Wisconsin. She is very liberal on social and financial issues, but she supports School Choice and the 2nd Amendment. Those are both popular positions in much of Milwaukee. Her policy positions, assuming she doesn’t flip-flop, have the potential to pull support from not only traditional Democrats, but from Conservatives in Milwaukee looking for someone closer to their policy positions than Tom Barrett.
Second, Taylor is clearly going to make the case for all of the residents of Milwaukee who don’t live downtown. While downtown Milwaukee has thrived under Mayor Barrett, the rest of the city is falling apart. Infrastructure in the neighborhoods are crumbling. Crime continues to plague many of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. Economic opportunity, lead pipes, jobs, potholes, etc. etc. etc. – Barrett has completely neglected 90% of the city while he clinks glasses with the downtown elite. Barrett’s Trolly Folly is merely the most visible example of his misplaced faulty priorities. Taylor is sure to make the case that the rest of the city deserves attention. This will also come into focus as Barrett is hobnobbing around downtown with elites during the Democratic Convention. Do you think anyone west of 16th, north of Walnut, or south of National are going to see any benefit from that convention as they watch their taxes being poured into it?
Third, there’s no getting around the fact that Taylor is a hot head. She has a reputation for being abusive to her staff, a bully, and incredibly arrogant to anyone she feels lacks the appropriate respect for someone of her self-appointed stature. This should keep the race interesting as we all await the next meltdown.
If it comes down to a race between Barrett and Taylor, I’d vote for Taylor. At least she is interested in the whole city.