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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Avoiding the “P” Word

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Fair, patient and reliable: monikers not routinely attached to politicians.

In fact 7th District AldermanWillie C. Wadedoesn't refer to himself using that "P" word. "An elected official" is more fitting.

Wade was first elected in a special election in April 2003. He supported an ordinance in 2004 establishing a city youth council and has been vocal on issues like living arrangements for sexually violent persons, day care and liquor store zoning and the Safe Routes to School Program. He goes door-to-door, hosts community job events and holds town meetings in an area of the city where residents have often felt unheard.

What's your mission, really?

To allow everyone in the city equal access and opportunity for growth and prosperity. Greed plays a factor in this. Greedy people want way more than they need, and sometimes at the expense of others having what they need. There is a lot of bias when it comes to access. My mission is to make sure access is more inclusive…universal.

Something you will not do?

I would never do things that harm children, like taking a less-than-favor able position on a core interest for children.

If you could have been or done anything, what would it be?

Well, one of my passions is music. I have a 24-track recording studio in my home. I am also interested in sports.

What are people usually surprised to find out about you?

My range of musical tastes. In a multi-disc changer I might have Michael Jackson, Eric Benet, Jay Z, Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra.

You've been dubbed vocal, outspoken and fiery. Do these names fit?

Yes, but the older I get, the less fiery I have become. I saw it coming early in my position with the council. With this job there seemed to be a three year learning curve. You don't do the same kinds of things repetitiously.

Each day is a different tour.

If you were reassigned tomorrow, what would you hope to do?

Be the superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. All of what happens in this city hinges on our public education system. That sys tem needs to be modern and fit a new millennium.

When people say, it's hard out here for a black man, how do you respond?

It is hard out here for a black man. Black men are involved in the evolu tion of the workforce here from indus trial heavy labor to today's more white-collar, professional positions.

This transition is harder because black men have to prove themselves in dif ferent ways. Still, I am more optimistic than pessimistic. I believe in karma and in the Golden Rule. And I would pose the question back, is living a clean, decent life hard?

What's one of your biggest sources of frustration?

The lack of our systems, at different levels, working together as a commu nity. Unity would lead to more effi cient service.

Any final words?

Take care of your children. They are assets and not liabilities.

Alderman Willie Wade | Photo by Corey Hengen

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