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Marvin Pratt, Thelma Sias on Mayor Barrett's legacy, city's future

"We can indeed elect an African American to be the mayor of this city"
Posted at 11:27 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 00:27:39-04

MILWAUKEE — Mayor Tom Barrett could soon be the Ambassador to Luxembourg, and it's leaving many curious as to what's next for the city's future.

Marvin Pratt became the first African American mayor in Milwaukee in 2004. He was Common Council President at the time Mayor John Norquist stepped down. His time in office was cut short when he lost to now Mayor Tom Barrett later that year.

Pratt says he doesn't think about it that much anymore.

"My goal was to be if not the best alderman there, one of the best, and I think I achieved that," Pratt said.

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Now 17 years later, he's not bitter.

He added, "I could sit here and easily be very critical, I'd rather not be, because I know that there's so much coming at you as mayor. So many people want a number of things and it's a very, very difficult position."

If Barrett is confirmed, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson will be the second African American mayor. Pratt says he thinks the city can elect a Person of Color this time around.


Thelma Sias agrees.

"We can indeed elect an African American to be the mayor of this city," Sias said.

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Sias's role at We Energies put her in the the room with Barrett many times over the years.

"There have been times when what I saw as a vision was not the same thing he saw, but oftentimes we came to closure about how close we could get," Sias said.

She thanks Barrett for his work and credits him for developing downtown, clinching the DNC, helping establish Fiserv Forum and leading the city through a pandemic.

Sias says now is the time to do more.

"As excited as we are that we won the NBA Championship, we've got to take that same kind of energy and focus commitment and rid this community of the concerns around poverty, racism, and ability to educate all of our children," Sias said.

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