Alex Lasry, senior vice president for the Milwaukee Bucks, announced his candidacy for the 2022 U.S. Senate Wednesday, promising to offer a "new way of thinking about the American economy."
“It’s time to elect leaders with a fresh perspective and a record of delivering real results for the people of Wisconsin,” Lasry said. “I will bring a new way of thinking to the Senate and give Senator Tammy Baldwin a partner in Washington who will work for the people of this state, not for the special interests. That’s why I am running to be Wisconsin’s next senator.”
Lasry also found himself in recent news after he announced he and his wife received the COVID-19 vaccine a couple of weeks ago even though they were not part of the eligible group decided by the state's health department. Lasry responded to backlash saying the extra doses would have gone to waste had they not been used.
Lasry, 33, led the Bucks’ corporate citizenship and racial and social justice efforts, including the team's vote initiative.
“Through my work with the Milwaukee Bucks, I have shown that progressive values are good for business. Making sure that we are paying people family-sustaining wages, providing workers with good union jobs, and investing in projects that respect our communities and our environment should be the new model for business across our state,” said Lasry. “Putting workers at the forefront of everything we do is the only way to ensure that when we recover from this pandemic, no Wisconsinite gets left behind.”
Lasry talked about the race and the challenges he faces with TMJ4's longtime Political Reporter Charles Benson.
Benson: What change do you think you can bring as a young member of the US Senate?
Lasry: If I'm elected that's another vote for a $15 minimum wage.
It's his first run for public office - but Lasry has been immersed in Democratic politics for a decade and played a key role in landing the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee last year.
Lasry played a key role in attracting the 2020 Democratic National Convention to the City of Milwaukee. He served as Chair of the Bid Committee and Finance Chair for the Democratic Convention’s Host Committee, raising nearly $40 million.
Benson: What does racial and social justice mean to you and what change needs to happen?
Lasry: What we are seeing is a lot of inequality. How are we kind of creating an economic justice platform and reforming our criminal justice system - so that we don't have these kinds of injustices, no matter what zip code you are in.
Benson; In the Black Lives Matter movement, some have talked about defunding police. President Biden last night said he does not want to defund police. Do you want to defund police?
Lasry: No, don't want to defend the police, I think what we need to do is allocate funds and make sure we're giving funding to a number of other departments as well, though, right now, the police department is stretched too thin, and they're being asked to do things that they're not trained to do.
Lasry comes from a wealthy, politically connected family. His father Marc is a co-owner of the Bucks and a billionaire businessman.
Lasry said during his campaign he will be stepping down from his role with the Bucks.
The state Republican Party is already going after his pedigree.
"He used his privilege to jump in front of senior citizens in line to get a coronavirus vaccine and now he's hoping Daddy's New York money can buy him Wisconsin's Senate seat," said Communications Director Anna Kelly.
Other Democrats thinking about the spot include Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski voiced her interest last month in an interview with TMJ4's Charles Benson.
Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson is already in the race.
He tweeted a challenge to Lasry or any candidate in the race: "to not invest their own money or family's in their campaign" saying he didn't think anyone should be able to buy a Senate seat.
Benson: Are you trying to buy a Senate seat?
Lasry: I'm not going to be self-funding. I'll be investing in my campaign, but what we're really going to be doing, and the most successful campaigns that I've seen are the ones that are built from the ground up.
The other big unknown here is Republican Senator Ron Johnson who has already been targeted by Democrats for defeat. But Johnson has not said if he will run for a third term.