MICAH president gets unvited to reception on jobs and economic development held at Governor’s Mansion
By Lynda Jones, editor
On the front page of the November 30, 2011 issue of the Milwaukee Community Journal, Governor Scott Walker is photographed surrounded by members of the African American Chamber of Commerce during a reception held at the Governor’s Mansion in Madison. Under the photo read the headline, ‘Will there be more opportunities for Wisconsin Black business owners?’ The question was left open-ended, the answer left for people to decide on at some future point in time. However, an additional story has developed from this event since the photo appeared.
Rev. Willie Brisco, president of Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) shared with The Milwaukee Courier this week, that he was actually “unvited” to this event. According to Rev. Brisco, he has tried to reach out to the African American Chamber of Commerce and its president Randy Crump, for a more complete explanation as to why he was “uninvited”, who originally told him that his name was not included on the final list because Rev. Brisco does not have a business. After approximately 4 weeks, and still no satisfactory answer, Rev. Brisco has decided to go public with this information and even share the contents of a letter that he just wrote to Governor Scott Walker. The letter reads:
Dear Governor Walker,
I am writing this letter, because I cannot humbly accept the fact that I was disinvited from a meeting that recently took place at the Governor’s Mansion regarding jobs and economic development in the Milwaukee area. It was not until I called Mr. Randy Crump a week prior to this meeting that I was informed of my exclusion, which was attributed to the fact that I am not a small business owner.
Let me begin by stating that almost two months prior to this meeting I was contacted by Mr. Crump, who then informed me that this meeting would take place, and that I would indeed be a part of it. From a historical perspective, I retired from Milwaukee County as the Assistant Superintendent of the Milwaukee County House of Corrections in 2009, after serving under then Country Executive Scott Walker for eight years.
On January 03, 2011, at Governor Walker’s inauguration prayer breakfast, I personally delivered a letter to the Governor’s aide stating that MICAH would like to work with him in his efforts to create jobs in this shrinking economy. In the summer of the same year, MICAH was instrumental in starting the conversation with minority contractors about joining forces to become more formidable entities, in terms of bidding on larger construction projects in the area. MICAH has since entered into Memorandum of Understanding with the African American Chamber of Commerce to establish and promote a Certified Professional Grade Contractor Program.
The reason for the aforementioned information is to inform or remind all parties associated, that I am not only qualified and capable of being in any discussion when it comes to jobs in my community, but that I refuse to be dismissed by anyone on the basis of class, social status, or affiliation. I draft this letter at the behest of the MICAH Religious Leader’s Caucus, and in keeping with the integrity of the organization that I represent. MICAH will continue to keep its promises and obligations as it has throughout the history of the organization, and we refuse to be ignored or dismissed by any person or entity regardless of social, economic, or political status.
I would like to be provided with a more acceptable explanation as to why my invitation to discuss economic development with the Governor of the State that I live in had been revoked, as well as an explanation on the lack of appeal on my behalf, by those who carried on with the meeting, despite my absence.
Rev. Willie E. Brisco, MICAH President
Now, in addition to Rev. Brisco’s letter, the African American Community at large wants an answer to why the president of MICAH was excluded from this event? And why would the African American Chamber of Commerce participate in such an event knowing that the exclusion was made? By the way for the public’s information The Milwaukee Courier Newspaper did not receive an invitation to this event for coverage as well. But it is also fair to note that this reception occurred as the ‘Recall Walker’ Campaign was underway as well…just something to think about.