By Ariele Vaccaro
In an email to his supporters, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced on Tuesday that he will be running for a fourth term.
So far, he’s faced with several challengers, including two from the City’s Common Council: Ald. Joe Davis and Ald. Bob Donovan. Both candidates have been outspoken over their differences with the mayor.
Davis announced his bid for the Mayor’s office in October of last year and Donovan announced his in May of this year.
Barrett was originally elected in 2004 and has held the seat for 12 years. If he wins a fourth term, he could be one of Milwaukee’s longest running mayors, after Henry Maier (28 years) and John Norquist (16 years).
In the email, Barrett vowed to continue building on progress he says the city has already made headway on, like finding jobs for young adults and reviving neighborhoods riddled with foreclosed and vacant properties.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to continue the progress we’ve made as a city,” wrote Barrett.
He also wants to secure better wages for Milwaukee families and foster better relations between police officers and the public they serve.
He mentioned a continued “battle” to end gun violence, which skyrocketed this past summer. By Aug., 100 people had already become shooting victims in 2015. Now, in Dec., that number stands at about 116. This past weekend saw a spike in gun violence, as well.
Donovan, one of Barrett’s opponents, has been openly critical of Barrett regarding gun violence. This past summer, he took to Facebook, saying, “The Reality of Mayor Barrett’s ‘Safe City’ 19 gun-related calls last night (Sunday, June 21) between 9pm and 10pm to the Milwaukee Police Department–does this reflect the image of a “safe city” to you?”
This year’s spike, however, hasn’t appeared to be a reflection of Barrett’s entire term. According to the City’s 2012 summary of homicide data, Milwaukee saw an average of 92 homicides per year for the first eight years of Barrett’s tenure.
Among other big moments in Barrett’s time as mayor are the hiring of Police Chief Ed Flynn and the state’s approval of a new Bucks arena to be built in downtown Milwaukee.