Black officials unite to elect Barrett for governor

Grassroot efforts to focus on getting the Milwaukee minority vote out

Mayor Tom Barrett is surrounded by prominent elected offi cials representing Milwaukee and Wisconsin following a brainstorming meeting regarding his run for governor. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

In an impressive show of unity in preparation before Wisconsin’s historic recall election, a prominent group of elected officials, union members, community and business leaders met with Mayor Tom Barrett to strategize on how best to energize voters and get them to the polls.

Led by Senator Spencer Coggs, Senator Lena Taylor, Common Council President Willie Hines and the distinguished Congresswoman Gwen Moore the discussion brought forth many excellent and unconventional ideas on how to best energize voters and increase Mayor Barrett’s presence in the community.

The many suggestions ranged from a ‘Mayor Barrett for Governor Public Transportation Bus Ride Tour ‘offered by Supervisor Michael Mayo which would allow the mayor to ride the city bus and speak directly to voters in their everyday lives. Coordinating church visits with Mayor Barrett and Congresswoman Moore suggested by Ald. Willie Hines. Television commercials featuring more diversity was recommended by Ald. Ashanti Hamilton. Congresswoman Moore suggested a more coordinated effort by Black elected officials to act as surrogates on behalf of Barrett to go out and talk about the importance of voting and hiring more Black people to work on the campaign was an idea presented by Sen. Coggs. Sen. Taylor proposed buying more media on Black radio and in the Black press. Focusing more efforts on youth outreach and more importantly employing young leaders in the community that already have a following was recommended by Alderwoman Coggs and Alderman Wade all of which are very good suggestions which would take place on the ground at the grassroots level where close campaigns are won and lost.

Mayor Tom Barrett listens to various prominent elected officials representing Milwaukee and the State, who have united in grassroot efforts to elected Barrett as Wisconsin’s next governor. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

At the broader level to ignite more enthusiasm among voters and particularly amongst young voters several attendees proposed bringing in some star power for a concert in collaboration with local DJ’s. Names such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Young Jeezy were recommended. Other big time names recommended to draw a diverse crowd were President Bill Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Lewis.

Barrett talked about his passion for winning this election, leading and unifying this state.

He went on to say Governor Walker’s mean spirited policies and divide and conquer tactics have hurt Wisconsinites at every level. Voters must show up at the polls to restore dignity to this state and to help bring back a brotherhood of caring for each other especially the most vulnerable like children and seniors that has been tragically lost this past year and a half.

Barrett also announced he was able to secure resources from the Democratic Party to hire people from the community to become canvassers for the campaign. The canvassers will be employed to help with the ‘Get Out The Vote Effort June 1st through the June 5th’. More details will be forth coming from the campaign.

The elected officials that attended the meeting should be applauded for their effort to provide input and influence the direction of this historic campaign. The elected officials who attended the meeting were Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Sen. Spencer Coggs, Sen. Lena Taylor, Rep. Beth Coggs, Rep. Leon Young, Common Council President Willie Hines, Ald. Milele Coggs, Ald. Willie Wade, Ald. Ashanti Hamilton, Supv. Willie Johnson and Supv. Michael Mayo. It was an impressive turnout of elected officials that have a wealth of knowledge and experience on how to engage voters and win elections.

Elected officials from the different levels of government should continue to meet even in off elections years to begin to formulate an urban renewal agenda for the City of Milwaukee.