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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Newcomers Vie to Replace Holloway on Milwaukee County Board

Coggs-Jones and Stamper II will appear on April 3 ballot

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The retirement of Lee Holloway, the longtime Milwaukee County supervisor and board chair, provides a rare opportunity for two political newcomers with familiar last names. Priscilla Coggs-Jones and Russell Stamper II are vying to represent District 5 on the board of supervisors, which includes the city's North Side, Washington Park neighborhood, Marquette and the east end of Downtown. Coggs-Jones and Stamper will appear on the April 3 general election ballot.

Priscilla Coggs-Jones: I'm Sincere and Passionate

Coggs-Jones has taken a leave of absence from her position as an art instructor at Milwaukee County's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. She is the co-founder of the Bridging the Gap Youth Summit, which she established after violent incidents at last summer's State Fair and in Riverwest, and is the founder of the nonprofit Urban Grassroots Inc.

Coggs-Jones said she is running for office to build on her family's 150 years of service to Milwaukee County. She said that due to the county's lack of certain media resources—such as a TV channel, which the city has—many residents aren't aware of all the services the county provides.

Coggs-Jones said the most pressing issues for the county are creating jobs, finding a dedicated funding source for the Milwaukee County Transit System, and maintaining the parks system.

She said that she would like to promote youth jobs and employment and would fight for employee rights. She opposes Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining bill. She said that one source for funding transit could be an increase in the sales tax, since it would be partially paid by residents of other counties, and that she would also support a toll for people entering the city as a way to boost revenue. She said she supports a water park in Washington Park so that young people would have an additional venue for entertainment in the neighborhood.

“I'm very sincere about representing people,” Coggs-Jones said. “I'm very passionate about it.”

To learn more about Priscilla Coggs-Jones, go to Priscilla E. Coggs-Jones on Facebook
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Russell Stamper II: I Am Prepared

Stamper has taken a leave of absence from the Social Development Commission (SDC), where he was a community liaison. He said his academic background—he earned an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University—and his work at SDC would help him balance the diverse needs of District 5.

Stamper said the Downtown area is mostly comprised of businesses with economic concerns, while the residents of the rest of the district are mostly focused on jobs, foreclosed homes and safety.

He said his top issues are fiscal responsibility, finding a dedicated funding source for transit and helping businesses to become sustainable job providers.

He said he would reduce duplication of services provided by the county and other municipalities and take a balanced approach to budgeting, so that the burden of reduced services is fair and the most important programs are protected.

Stamper said he wanted to encourage employment in the district, since most of the new jobs are created outside of Milwaukee, which is out of reach for those who take public transit. He said he would work to expand opportunities to develop the 30th Street Corridor, which runs through the district, and the Park East land owned by the county. He said he would also encourage more small businesses to launch and ask residents to patronize the small businesses in the district.

“I have prepared myself for this moment through my education and my work in the community,” Stamper said.