By Lynda L. Jones
Ieshuh Griffin, an independent candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly says that she plans to stay on course and concentrate on running for the 10th District seat despite the controversy that has taken on a life of itself surrounding her ballot statement of purpose.
Candidates who run as independents are allowed a five-word statement of purpose on the ballot to explain to voters what their candidacy is about. Griffin’s statement, “NOT the ‘white man’s bitch’ “,has caused quite a stir to say the least. Griffin says that the reaction to her statement was not expected.
“I personally collected over 250 signatures by going out in the community door to door, allowing me to be on the ballot. My statement was on my papers, and I did not receive one complaint.” Griffin said in an exclusive interview with The Courier earlier this week.
Griffin, who describes herself as a “30 ish” community activist, says that it was a “staff” member of the elections board that first found issue with her statement.
“I thought that a staff member was supposed to look over your paperwork, and make sure your information is complete and correct. It is not their job to scrutinize a statement of purpose”.
With all the attention placed on five words by local and national media, no one has reported on what these words mean and why she chose them. “In the statement, I am using the term ‘white man’ not in a racial or gender sense but in the sense of what that term means in our society, it signifies the ‘power structure’. The word ‘bitch’, I am using it in its definition, ‘a female dog’, and I use that to symbolize that I will not lay down or rollover for the ‘power structure’ as a dog would.” Griffin said.
Some in Milwaukee may remember Griffin from being the spokesperson for her family during a highly publicized child custody case, where her sister, April Griffin was jailed for refusing to tell authorities where to find her son. This subject is still quite a sensitive one for Griffin, bringing tears to her eyes when the subject is brought up. Her sister’s continued battle for justice is a major influence for her decision to run for public office.
“I was actually encouraged by legislators in Madison, predominately White legislators to find a way to work toward changing laws, such as the ones that allowed the injustice that my sister and others that I know personally have endured.” Griffin said.
“I want to be a public servant, I want to work toward government being accessible and accountable to the people.” Griffin continued.
Griffin says that she is just a regular person in the community who has been failed by the current system.
She was valedictorian of her high school graduating class from the Learning Enterprise of Wisconsin, and has worked with community organizations including the Rapid Response Team with former Alderman Michael McGee, Jr.
Griffin says that she will run her campaign without soliciting funds because “that is how a campaign should be run”. Her campaign slogan is “Working toward the poor people’s piece of the pie”.
And although her statement of purpose “NOT the “white man’s bitch” was removed from the ballot she is not restricted from using it in her campaign literature or any ads that might run.