Ray Harmon grew up in Milwaukee and was raised by a single mom and very supportive extended family that taught him the values of hard work and community service. Since college, Ray has worked as a legislative assistant for city and county governments, as well as nonprofit organizations before becoming the Economic Development Director for the Milwaukee Urban League.
In 2003, Ray was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to become New Products and Economic Development Director for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority where he led projects to increase loan guarantees for contractors, small and medium sized businesses. Later Governor Doyle asked Ray to lead the Milwaukee Governor’s office.
In early 2007, Ray received a heart transplant. That gift of life has profoundly shaped the way he approaches how he lives his own life. Each day Ray wants to find ways to give back to his community. Now, Ray is running for Alderperson to continue that effort to give back. He wants to boost our local economy by helping to create jobs, keep Milwaukee fiscally responsible and improve our quality of life.
A core element of Ray Harmon’s campaign is his extensive “Vision for Change.” Northwest Milwaukee has the potential to become an economically vibrant region again and the main catalyst for this revitalization is the redevelopment of Northridge Mall. Ray spoke with over 1000 residents regarding the redevelopment, interviewed Milwaukee County Officials, faith leaders, business owners, business organizations, investors, financial institutions, developers and economic development practitioners, and we all want a more dramatic change to Northridge Mall that will be a destination center with a sense of place and renewed identity.
It is in this spirit, Ray hopes to stimulate discussion, bring together stakeholders and create a sense of urgency by offering my vision for the revitalization of Northridge Mall. Ray offers this vision to provoke thought, stimulate dialogue and to serve as a catalyst in the formation of new partnerships throughout the northwest region. Ray’s end goal is to advance the interest of 9th district residents and help promote the district by redeveloping Northridge Mall, creating jobs and improve the quality of life for taxpayers.
Along with Ray’s plan for Northridge Mall, Jobs and Economic Development are core aspects of his “Vision for Change.” Foremost, we need to Re-brand Northwest Milwaukee to create a sense of place and a renewed sense of identity. The revitalization effort of Northwest Milwaukee has to be supported with a well-planned and strong marketing campaign. Also, we need to create a strong revitalization management organization that develops public private partnerships and identifies financing for redevelopment projects to spur business growth in Northwest Milwaukee and carries out the well-planned and strong marketing plan to re-brand Northwest Milwaukee.
Overall, the goal of the “Vision for Change” is to improve the quality of life in District 9. We can develop a public private fund to help rehabilitate and clean up foreclosed properties. We can decrease burglaries with increased police foot and bicycle patrols. Also, Northwest Milwaukee has the worst road conditions in the City of Milwaukee, and we can easily implement a surface evaluation rating system to better manage and assess road conditions.
Foremost in Ray’s plan to improve quality of life is the implementation of a Neighborhood Indicators Project. Neighborhood Indicators is a tool, a demonstration of key characteristics and various indicators that relate to the quality of life in Milwaukee at the neighborhood level. The goal will be to better understand neighborhood trends, help tailor solutions to a neighborhoods particular needs, help see emerging trends, and offer early warning signs of stress so that problems can be addressed quickly.
This “Vision for Change” is a central element of Ray’s campaign for alderperson in District 9, and he feels it is his primary tool in his effort to give back to Milwaukee’s communities. Ray has a succinct plan to make District 9 a better place to live, as he looks to boost the local economy by helping to create jobs, keep Milwaukee fiscally responsible, and improve the quality of life for all citizens of District 9.