By the Milwaukee Courier Editorial Board
You know that Wisconsin has the highest African American unemployment rate in the country â€“ and Milwaukeeâ€™s black male unemployment has reached a staggering 57 percent.
And some of the hardest hit areas for unemployment are in Rep. David Bowenâ€™s Assembly district.
This week, our elected leaders had a chance to step up to the plate and vote to bring more jobs to Milwaukee and do what is right for Milwaukee residents.
Most did, but David Bowen failed.
Senators Lena Taylor and Nikiya Harris-Dodd voted yes. Representatives Jo- Casta Zamarripa, Mandela Barnes, LaTonya Johnson, Evan Goyke, Fred Kessler, and Leon Young all voted yes.
But Rep. David Bowen, and his sidekick from the east side, Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, voted no.
The Legislature finally approved a smart proposal for a new Milwaukee multipurpose arena that will keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, create thousands of good-paying jobs for local residents, and spur at least one billion dollars of new economic development.
With three quarters of the costs paid for by the owners of the Bucks, the minimal public investment to help make the project happen is an absolute necessity.
This is a slam-dunk proposal that is good for the Bucks and their fans, Milwaukee residents, and Wisconsin taxpayers.
But Bowen is on the wrong side.
Bowen has been often highlighted as a rising star, and was even recently elected as a state Democratic Party officer.
Unfortunately, we think that attention may have gone to his head, because by saying no to the arena and the proposed developments around the arena, he certainly was not voting in the best interests of his constituents or the city of Milwaukee.
If David Bowen had his way, the Bucks would be on their way to Seattle right now and taxpayers would be forced to prop up an empty and crumbling Bradley Center.
Hundreds would be out of a good-paying job and thousands more who would get a good-paying job building a new arena, plus those working in it and at the surrounding developments, would miss out.
We would have missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically reshape Milwaukee.
David Bowen may have been the preferred candidate in Shorewood, but he clearly doesnâ€™t get what we need in the central city.
Many White liberals, in some high-minded pursuit of perfection, have stood against this proposal, even though we need economic development and good paying jobs now.
We wonder why Bowen is standing with them, instead of the rest of the Senators and Representatives â€“ white, Hispanic and black â€“ who voted to create jobs.
David Bowenâ€™s shameful vote against jobs is especially unacceptable considering his district and the tremendous need for more jobs right away.
We canâ€™t believe he issued a press release nitpicking the deal for not allocating naming rights revenue the right way.
These little issues are a distraction and a lame excuse from someone who claims to be a so-called leader in our city.
These are the actions of an ambitious politician, an opportunistic yes-man, an empty suit who has risen too quickly and places a higher premium on winning the next, highest office than on whatâ€™s best for the people he was elected to serve.
Milwaukee has been to this dance before â€“ with Scott Walker.
The truth is, like Walker, David Bowen would rather shill for his friends than do right by Milwaukee.
Now that might make for better personal politics for David Bowen, but we need a leader here who cares about his constituents who need a job, who love basketball, or simply want Milwaukee to be a better place for us to live.
We need a leader who wonâ€™t sell out our community and our needs for the folks on the east side of the river.
The next time David Bowen asks for your vote or support, ask him why he didnâ€™t vote for these jobs for Milwaukee residents.
Ask him why he was willing to let the Bucks walk away.
Ask him how he would have replaced one billion dollars of economic development in a vacant portion of the city, touching some of the cityâ€™s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Weâ€™re sorely disappointed in David Bowen.