Saturday, January 11, 2020

Guest Post By Chris Larson-- Why Milwaukee Matters


-by State Senator Chris Larson

There’s an old adage in politics, "as goes Wisconsin, so goes the country." In 2016, Trump became the first Republican candidate to win in Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. In 2018, Wisconsin re-elected the country’s first openly LGBTQ Senator-- Tammy Baldwin-- by approximately 11%.

Wisconsin’s status as a swing state is well known, but what is less known is Milwaukee’s strong history of progressive politics. Two Milwaukee Mayors-- Emil Seidel, who served from 1910-1912 and Dan Hoan, who served from 1916-1940-- were nicknamed the "Sewer Socialists" because of their focus on infrastructure that wouldn’t poison people with contaminated water. From public health to public housing, their legacy is imprinted not only in Milwaukee and Wisconsin but around the country.

In 2020, Milwaukee’s stamp on the national political stage’s history will further be cemented with the Democratic National Committee Convention (DNCC). And that’s why it is crucial we elect a progressive Democrat to be Milwaukee County Executive; the second-most powerful executive position in the state. When the national spotlight is on Milwaukee throughout the DNCC and election day in 2020, we must have a progressive leader using that position to move an agenda of our shared values forward-- immediately.

As a County Supervisor, State Senator and Democratic Leader in the Legislature, I have consistently fought to fund the programs and services that will enhance the quality of life of my neighbors. From fighting for workers rights to collective bargaining rights during the Act 10 protests to pushing a state-wide version of the Green New Deal, over my last 12 years in public service, I’ve been fine with picking a fight when needed. Especially when it comes to the outsized influence of money in politics, which is why I’ve promised to run a clean campaign, free from corporate PAC and dark money, and fought for increased transparency in the capitol.

Milwaukee County is both Wisconsin’s economic engine and a critical cultural center. Having grown up here, I know how important the county services are to our county residents. Three things come immediately to mind when I think about how the next County Executive can make a difference without the state legislature’s approval.

Goal ThermometerOne, we need to safeguard and improve our parks and green spaces. As long as I am County Executive, I will not sell any of our parks and will not put meters on our lakefront. Everyone deserves access to free quality public space, period.

Two, we must secure dedicated funding for our transit. I’ve fought that fight as County Supervisor-- we passed a tax when everyone said we couldn’t do it-- and at the state level as a State Senator. Now, the hurdle is state laws that don’t allow local communities to decide what’s best for them. It’s important that the next County Executive isn’t learning as they go, but instead leads because they know where to go. I just recently had a conversation with Governor Evers regarding a state-wide campaign to allow more revenue flexibility, and as the County Executive, my experience at the state and local levels puts me in the unique position to successfully advocate for this change.

Three, I will immediately take steps to empower the people-- and by extension their elected officials on Milwaukee County’s Board of Supervisors-- to bring things to the top and reverse the consolidation of power into one office.

I’m a realist as much as I am a progressive, and I know that with the ultra-conservative grip on legislative power in our Wisconsin Capitol, it is likely the next Milwaukee County Executive will not be able to accomplish every goal on their list. Yet, we must use every tool at our disposal to advance a progressive agenda, and that includes ensuring that when that national spotlight is on Milwaukee, it is shining our positive, progressive example to show the world why progressive values work.

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At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck WI. Their electors will be for trump again. get over it. Milwaukee cannot overcome the rest of the state full of stupid white Nazis any longer.


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