By Ethan Duran
On the evening of Jan. 7, the newly elected Representative LaKeishia Myers held her ceremonial oath of office at On the Bayou while surrounded by her family, friends and constituents. Chief Judge Maxine White had the Representative of the 12th District take oath at the podium while WNOV’s Michelle Bryant was the master of ceremony. Myers was sworn in at Madison earlier that afternoon, but the ceremony in the restaurant’s back room was closer to home.
Myers was elected for Assembly Representative for the Democratic Party in August of 2018 during the summer primary and officially elected in the general election in November. After the oath, Myers gave thanks to the crowd which included Chief Judge Myers, Senator Lena Taylor and Michelle Bryant, who had also served as her campaign manager. She talked about her plans for change in Milwaukee as loved ones said their goodbyes.
“One of the largest issues that we have is the funding for education,” Myers said. “It’s magnified with Milwaukee being the largest public school system.” Having worked as an MPS teacher herself, Myers said she would like to make teacher licensing more attractive and retain new teachers in the city. She said she also wants to help legislature get the school funding formula under control, as well as connect to schools in rural areas. “I think there needs to be more funding for all schools across the board.”
The biggest challenge for Myers during her campaign was name recognition. Her opponent last year was Fred Kessler, a politician who had been representing districts in Milwaukee since 1960. Running against such a big name in Wisconsin politics, Myers said she had to rely on sweat equity to make her name known. “I had to go out and knock on every door and make sure the people got to know me.” One of her challenges in Madison will be making her voice heard, along with 98 other representatives in the Assembly.
At the end of the ceremony, Michelle Bryant reminded the room that although Myers had won the election, her fight still wasn’t over. From behind the podium, Bryant said that black voters need to be more politically active beyond voting. “Don’t leave LaKeishia on her own,” Bryant said. “She’s only one in 99, with only five other black representatives. Make sure to call up all of them.”