By Senator, Lena C. Taylor
I am extraordinarily grateful to have been reelected to a third term in the State Senate by my constituents in northern Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Shorewood and Glendale. Since my first election as State Senator in 2004, I have always served my constituents to the full extent of my abilities. Quite unexpectedly, I received more than 85 percent of the district’s votes in the latest election.
I received more votes than any other Democratic State Senate candidate, and I have been overwhelmed by this outpouring of support. I am committed to living up to the confidence you have shown in my candidacy.
Here in the City of Milwaukee, we face extraordinary challenges, and few would argue that Governor Walker’s agenda has adequately addressed the pain we have been feeling. I can assure you that I will continue to be a voice for my constituents. Those of you who know me personally know I am nothing if not a fighter.
My fellow legislators and I have committed to working towards real solutions, and we have a lot of work to get done. After two long and bitter years, I believe the time has come for truly bipartisan solutions. My fellow Democrats and I believe that the budget must focus on education first. History shows that cutting education has never produced economic growth. Education provides for a knowledge-based economy and should be taken seriously. However, we must also promote the policies of schools that work. For example, my district’s Rufus King High School is the best-performing in the state. Other Milwaukee schools can and should replicate that success.
We must do more for economic growth. I believe that our economic development corporation, WEDC, is in desperate need of reform. As the sole shareholders of WEDC, taxpayers have seen its board of directors fail in managing $66 million of public investment. Additionally, Wisconsin must see actual growth where it is really needed. Governor Walker promised to dedicate $100 million for the Transform Milwaukee Initiative, but he has yet to follow through on that investment.
If Governor Walker wants to get be re-elected, he knows he’ll have to appeal to moderates and not just his tea party-conservative base. That means he’ll have to drop the shock tactics and focus on education and jobs. On that front, I believe Democrats like myself can work with the Governor.
Democrats are ready to be partners in an agenda with a real vision for Wisconsin and Milwaukee. On the other hand, it is now up to Governor Walker and the Republicans to show positive leadership for the entire state and not just for a few.
Governor Walker knows that his attacks on working people, his repeal of equal pay for women, his brutal cuts to educational funding, and his entire far-right agenda has alienated moderates while making him a conservative super-star. I believe that he a knows that he won’t be able to get away with this non-sense any longer.
I believe we are moving towards a session and a year of bipartisanship and solutions. Once again, I am thankful to all my constituents for allowing me the opportunity to go to Madison and help make sure we are moving in the right direction.