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Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

Near North Side Residents Will Elect a New County Supervisor

Top Two Winners of the Feb. 15 primary will meet Apr. 5

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After 22 years, Elizabeth Coggs has given up her 10th District seat on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to represent Milwaukee in the state Assembly. Five candidates are vying to represent this near North Side district. The top two vote-getters in the Feb. 15 primary will make it to the general election on April 5. Candidate Charisha Allen, founder of Mothers of the Struggle, did not respond to the Shepherd’s request for an interview.



Eyon Biddle: Hire County Residents for Public Projects

Eyon Biddle is the executive director of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Wisconsin state council and decided to run for the county board because he was “frustrated by the missed opportunities to grow and strengthen the county. I see so much potential and feel that I have the vision, relationships and collaborative spirit to break out of the status quo.”

Biddle’s top issues are job creation and economic development; quality of life services such as transit, parks, health and human needs, senior care and public safety; and strong representation for the residents of the 10th District.

Biddle said he wants to end the county’s history of paying two-thirds of its wages for public works projects to non-county residents.

“There is no reason that our citizens, particularly the underemployed, should pay their taxes to bring in labor from Jefferson and Sheboygan counties to fix buildings and other infrastructure in Milwaukee,” Biddle said.

He said that he would continue to fight for dedicated funding for parks, transit, emergency medical services and cultural assets despite Gov. Scott Walker’s opposition to a sales tax for Milwaukee County to address these issues.

“The governor is out of touch with the majority of Milwaukee County residents on this issue, but we cannot let that deter us from pursuing a better system of financing these services,” Biddle said.

Biddle said that he would advocate for a transparent and responsible budgeting process.

“The practice of passing budgets that don't include settled contracts are not budgets that reflect the county's true financial situation,” Biddle said. “They leave the county, the labor unions and the taxpayer without a true sense of what is going on financially.”

To learn more about Eyon Biddle, go to www.biddleformilwaukee.com.

Ieshuh Griffin: Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes

Community activist and paralegal Ieshuh Griffin said she is running for both the 10th District seat and Milwaukee County executive because the district needs better representation.

“The devastations of poverty, unemployment and a lack of service still is as prevalent in the 10th supervisory district now as it was when I was growing up surrounded by these astonishing facts,” Griffin said.

Griffin is focusing on government accountability, public service needs and equality in opportunity.

“I would deal with government accountability by making the offices that belong to the people transparent,” Griffin said. “I would also actively work to establish committees and commissions that would include citizens on them. As it relates to public service needs, I would actively work to see that the government provides the necessary services that the public is entitled to have provided to them. I would also hold listening sessions within the community and take into account the expressed desires and concerns of those that are to be served accordingly. As it relates to equality, I would actively seek to break barriers of discrimination and disparity that exist in the current governmental administrations within Milwaukee County.”

Griffin said she would like to analyze the root of the county’s fiscal crisis so that its past mistakes are not repeated.

“If elected I would exercise coordinated fiscal discipline,” Griffin said. “The fiscal restraint would include tax decreases, spending cuts on non-core programs as well as adjusting production to the needs of the communities within Milwaukee County. Reducing taxesimproves theeconomy by boosting spending and also provides individuals and corporations with an incentive for investments, which stimulates economic activity.”



Cavalier Johnson: ‘We Could Have Tons of Jobs Here’

Cavalier Johnson, 24, said that he has known since he was 14 years old that he wanted to be of service to Milwaukee by getting involved in politics.

“I am a product of my district,” Johnson said. “I have seen the struggles that have gone on there and haven’t changed in the majority of the district throughout my entire life. This opportunity presented itself and I want to finally get back to what I figured out so long ago, that participation in politics is the best way to create change in people’s lives.”

Johnson’s top issues are establishing dedicated funding for the Milwaukee County Transit System; creating jobs, especially for black males; and fostering open and accountable government.

“If we had an infrastructure in place where people could move goods and services through the arteries here in Milwaukee County and the transit system and they didn’t have to work to scrape up change to get on the bus, and business owners had the confidence that folks in their neighborhood would shop with them, we could have tons of jobs here on North Avenue, in the central city,” said Johnson, who is employed as a follow-up specialist at the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.

Johnson said he would not vote for a budget that included wage and benefits concessions that hadn’t been negotiated with the unions.

“We need to make sure that we are looking at the box that we’re tied into, and if there are concessions that need to go through, then they need to be done before the budget is finalized,” Johnson said.

To learn more about Cavalier Johnson, go to www.chevyforsupervisor.com.

Tearman Spencer: Make Milwaukee a Great Place to Work, Live and Play

Tearman Spencer is an attorney and businessman who earned a master’s in business administration.

“It was time for me to get off the sidelines waiting for the change,” Spencer said. “I’m accepting the challenge to get involved and be part of the change.”

Spencer’s top issues are job growth, education and economic development.

“It’s going to take collective, cooperative partnering to bring jobs to the county,” Spencer said. “We need to partner with businesses and municipalities to see what is available to make sure that we can re-engage folks.”

Spencer acknowledged that education isn’t technically a county issue, but he sees his relationships with the Milwaukee Public Schools as an asset and an opportunity for the county to get involved.

Potential solutions “will be something that the community can buy into as well as the powers that be.”

Spencer said the district needs a representative who understands the nuts and bolts of economic development projects.

“We know we need outside money from the lending institutions,” Spencer said. “As such, we need the relationships. Folks need to understand the relationships with the banks, and when we lose a resource such as M&I Bank, which was bought out, and we don’t have that collective tie with the institution that acquired M&I, we need to understand exactly what goes on with economic development. And we need to understand the developers’ role and how they develop. And we need to minimize and not maximize the developers’ profit on the projects so that we allow the community to benefit more.”

Spencer said he would like to attract more businesses and tourists to Milwaukee because of its many assets.

“My vision for Milwaukee County is to build a brand as a globally accepted place to work, live and play,” Spencer said.