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Shepherd Express Endorsements

Mar. 28, 2012
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Milwaukee Mayor

The Shepherd Express endorses Mayor Tom Barrett for another term as mayor of Milwaukee. Mayor Barrett has focused his attention on job creation and job retention during the most severe recession in our lifetime. Barrett is also someone who is congenial enough to be able to work across the aisle even in these very divisive times. The mayor has served Milwaukee well as a bright and very honest political leader. He has been able to use the knowledge and skills he gained as a former state representative, state senator and congressman to ensure that Milwaukee gets fair treatment at the state and federal levels. Milwaukee will be well served with another four years with Tom Barrett as mayor.

Milwaukee Common Council Endorsements

The Milwaukee Common Council has the power to move this city forward into a more prosperous, safer future. We kept this in mind as we evaluated the candidates running for the council. Those earning our endorsement are:

  • District 6: Milele Coggs. Coggs has shown that she has her constituents' best interests at heart. We like her support of the Milwaukee Jobs Act and her work on behalf of the city's struggling workers, families and youth. She has earned another term and has a bright future ahead of her.
  • District 8: Benjamin Juarez. It's time for a change, so we are endorsing Benjamin Juarez over long-serving Alderman Bob Donovan. Juarez will not be the divisive figure that Donovan has been, and Juarez's academic background indicates that he will give careful consideration to the proposals that come before the council as well as initiate new, innovative programs. We like his idea to pair business school interns with budding entrepreneurs. If properly done, this proposal could be an exciting addition to the city's job-creation efforts. A vote for Juarez is a vote for the future.
  • District 9: Ray Harmon. We enthusiastically endorse Ray Harmon over longtime Alderman Bob Puente. Harmon has diverse work experience that will make him a well-informed alderman. Harmon worked for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) in the Doyle administration, chaired the Governor's Gang Prevention and Violence Reduction Task Force, was the economic development director for the Milwaukee Urban League and was communications director for the Neighborhood Schools Initiative. We like his focus on redeveloping Northridge Mall and creating a position within city government focused solely on job creation.  
  • District 10: Michael Murphy. Murphy, definitely one of the city's top aldermen, has shown solid leadership during his time on the Common Council. His work on behalf of the Employees Retirement System, Milwaukee Arts Board and Housing Trust Fund—among other efforts—has been exemplary.
  • District 12: Jose Perez. We think Jose Perez is the best choice in this district. As a former Department of City Development staffer, Perez has a thorough knowledge of city government. His work for Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) shows that he has strong core values, and his subsequent career as a commercial real estate developer demonstrates his knowledge of what it takes to develop business. We believe that Jose Perez's background and experience will be a welcome addition to the Milwaukee Common Council.
  • District 13: Terry Witkowski. Witkowski turned this district into the Garden District and is developing the full economic potential of the airport area. He has earned another term.
  • District 14: Tony Zielinski. Most Bay View residents know "Tony," since he's always out and about. He works hard on behalf of the businesses that make this area unique. We like his support for workers' rights, urban agriculture and public art.
  • District 15: Eyon Biddle. We are impressed by Eyon Biddle's passion and his willingness to challenge the status quo and move Milwaukee forward. He has chosen to give up his county supervisor position to challenge Common Council President Willie Hines in this election. Biddle is smart, effective and a fighter, which is something that this district sorely needs. He has made economic development and job creation for Milwaukee's African-American jobless residents his highest priority, even if it earns him powerful enemies. His Biddle-Lipscomb Ready-to-Work Initiative, passed by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors last year, will help Milwaukee's struggling workers. We are confident that he can get similar results while serving on the city's Common Council. We strongly support Eyon Biddle for Milwaukee Common Council.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Endorsements

A number of Milwaukee County Supervisors are leaving their positions to move on to other opportunities, providing rare vacant seats in those districts.

In District 5, which had been held by Board Chair Lee Holloway, we prefer Russell Stamper II on April 3. Stamper has a background in nonprofit social service work and has earned an MBA, which allows him to bridge the worlds in this district, that of the Downtown business community and Milwaukee's struggling central city.

In District 7, we believe it is time for a change. The Shepherd Express enthusiastically endorses the bright, energetic challenger Jermaine Buckner. Buckner has the correct priorities, focusing on jobs, preserving our excellent park system and improving our transportation resources, and we believe he has the ability and energy to actually help move the county forward. Buckner deserves a chance to serve.

In District 10, vacated by Eyon Biddle so he can run for Milwaukee Common Council, we support David Bowen, the program director at Urban Underground. While both candidates for this seat are strong, we think that Bowen's links to the community—especially hard-to-reach youth—will serve him well on the Milwaukee County board.

Lynne De Bruin is leaving her District 15 supervisory seat, where we are enthusiastically endorsing Dan Cody on April 3. Cody, the president of the Park People, has a thorough understanding of the funding challenges facing Milwaukee County's parks, transit and other assets. Because the preservation of the park system is a chronic problem that isn't getting any better, we think Cody's expertise and commitment to a thriving park system will be highly beneficial to the board.

In District 18, which had been represented by Johnny Thomas, we are supporting Tracey Corder, a social worker currently employed at the Hope House. Corder's social work background will help her make wise decisions about Milwaukee County's many health and human services functions.

We also believe that a number of incumbents have earned another term and the Shepherd's endorsement.

With the Biddle-Lipscomb Ready to Work Initiative, Theodore Lipscomb in District 1 has shown that he can tackle a tough issue such as job training and get results for Milwaukee's struggling job seekers. In District 4, Marina Dimitrijevic is willing to take on more responsibility, which we are glad to see. Her Green Print has saved the county $800,000 in a little more than two years and has reduced energy consumption. We like Dimitrijevic's passion and her willingness to put her progressive values to the test. In District 6, the Shepherd Express believes that Jim "Luigi" Schmitt has earned another term on the county board. Schmitt has been a leader on a number of important issues, including the provision of mental health services. Also, he has taken a leadership role on issues pertaining to the Milwaukee County Grounds, which are in the 6th District. In District 12, Peggy Romo West has earned another term on the board. We support her efforts to redesign the county's mental health services so they are more efficient and effective.

We have a dual endorsement for District 13. We are endorsing both the incumbent, Willie Johnson Jr., and his challenger, Bria Grant. Johnson has done a fine job on the board, but we also believe that Grant, a substance abuse counselor, has much to offer as well. Voters in District 13 can't go wrong with either candidate.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Endorsements

Branch 17:
We are enthusiastically supporting Carolina Stark for Milwaukee County judge. Stark has a broad range of work experience, including working as a criminal defense attorney and serving on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. Currently, she is an administrative law judge. Stark has also shown a commitment to serving the needs of the community. We believe that Stark has the intelligence, energy and temperament that a judge in this busy courthouse needs.

Branch 23:
Dual Endorsement: We are endorsing both Hannah Dugan and Lindsey Grady for Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 23 judge. Both of these candidates are highly qualified for the job and we are confident that both will be fair on the bench.

Now in private practice, Dugan has held high-level positions at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee and Legal Action of Wisconsin. Dugan helped to found Immigration Legal Services at Catholic Charities and helped to write Milwaukee County's ethics code.

As a deputy register in probate, Grady has the authority to issue rulings and court orders on guardianships, adult adoptions, mental health commitments and probate matters. She formerly worked at Legal Aid Society, where she represented children in foster care. She has a thorough understanding of how the court system works.

Obviously, both women cannot win this election, so we hope that the candidate who is not successful this time will run for judge next year.

Milwaukee City Treasurer

For city treasurer, the voters have a choice between two current state senators, Tim Carpenter and Spencer Coggs. Both have served honorably in the Wisconsin Legislature for more than 25 years and both could respectably perform the fairly unchallenging and routine tasks before the city treasurer. You can't vote wrong in this election.

Milwaukee County Comptroller

The endorsement for Milwaukee County comptroller is a no-brainer. Scott Manske is the easy and obvious choice. He has served for the past 19 years as county controller, when it was an appointed position. He has done an excellent job as the appointed controller. And with a totally inexperienced county executive, it is all the more important to have an adult on the team. We strongly and unequivocally endorse Scott Manske for county comptroller.

Shorewood Village Trustee

The Shepherd is endorsing Thad Nation and Jeff Hanewall for Shorewood Village Trustees. Nation has served in that position since last summer and is seeking a full term. That experience, combined with his background in state government and in the private sector, makes us very confident that Nation will serve Shorewood residents wisely. Hanewall is well known to Shorewood residents for having served honorably on the Village Board for a number of years, and has definitely earned another term.

West Allis Resolution on Corporate Personhood: Vote Yes

On April 3, West Allis voters have a unique opportunity to make their voices heard on the corrosive influence of corporate money on politics and elections. Thanks to some committed volunteers, the local Move to Amend group was able to collect 4,234 valid signatures to place a referendum on the ballot to encourage Congress to start the process of amending the U.S. Constitution to establish that only human beings are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not speech.

We are urging West Allis residents to vote YES on this resolution.

You'd think that it's self-evident that only human beings have constitutional rights. But thanks to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions—most notoriously, Citizens United—corporations enjoy a host of "constitutional" protections that allow them to have an unwelcome, unhealthy influence on our elections.

Just look at the billionaire-funded Super PACs spending heavily in the Republican presidential primaries. They're drowning out the messages of the candidates and consolidating power in the hands of just a few deep-pocketed supporters who will surely want their rewards after the election. The Super PACs were made possible by Supreme Court rulings, including Citizens United, that have overturned bans and limits on corporate money in campaigns because corporations are now seen as having the same constitutional rights to political speech as human beings.

The Citizens United ruling is so bad that the Supreme Court may reconsider it this fall.

West Allis residents can send the Supreme Court and elected officials a strong message by supporting Move to Amend's resolution, which reads:

"RESOLVED, the City of West Allis, Wisconsin, calls for reclaiming democracy from the effects of undue corporate influence by amending the United States Constitution to establish that:

"1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and

"2. Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."

We are urging Shepherd readers in West Allis to vote YES on this referendum. Human beings, not corporations, should decide the policies and positions of the United States of America.

To learn more about the candidates in the April 3 election, go to the Daily
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