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Cavalier Johnson says he's ready to take action as Milwaukee's acting mayor

“I'm not going to sit and wait. I'm going to be the mayor"
Posted at 5:42 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 21:42:36-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson is expected to soon takeover as acting mayor now that the U.S. Senate has confirmed Mayor Tom Barrett's nomination as an ambassador.

As leader of the Council, Johnson will automatically become mayor once Barrett resigns. Barrett is first waiting for his formal appointment from President Joe Biden, which could come any day now.

If Johnson takes over as acting mayor, it's likely he'll only have a few months to lead before a special election is held to permanently fill Barrett's seat.

“I'm not going to sit and wait. I'm going to be the mayor," said Johnson when asked if it's his intention to tackle big issues as the interim leader of the city.

Cavalier Johnson
Cavalier Johnson

Acting "decisively" in the months that follow could be seen as a trial run of sorts for the permanent job Johnson seeks.

“So whether it comes to issues like reckless driving or getting more shots in people's arms, I'm going to do everything that I can to get those things done," said Johnson.

He'll be running in a crowded field that includes Nick McVey, Bob Donovan, Shelia Conley-Patterson, Michael Sampson, Earnell Lucas, and Marina Dimitrijevic.

It's unclear exactly when these candidates will get to face off in a primary or general election.

Barrett has indicated he’ll step down by Dec. 28, giving the city time to align a special mayoral election with next year's primary and spring general elections.

tom barrett
Mayor Tom Barrett

"[Which] would save the taxpayers of the City of Milwaukee literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact it could be as high as three quarters of a million dollars," said Barrett.

Regardless of the election's timeline, none of the candidates should be expecting an endorsement from Barrett once he’s ambassador, at least publicly.

"The spirit of it within the State Department is that I refrain from political activity. And so I’m going to honor that tradition within the State Department," said Barrett.

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