MILWAUKEE — State Senator Lena Taylor announced her plans to run for mayor in Milwaukee Tuesday morning. Announcing the run from her home on Capitol Drive, Lena Taylor is jumping into the race wearing her high top converse shoes.
"I don't see everyone stepping up to the plate. I'm here, send me, put me in the ring," said the long time Milwaukee Democrat.
Taylor's announcement comes five months before the February primary. She is expected to face a well financed Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderman Tony Zielinski who has been in the race more than a year. She criticized the Mayor Barrett for not doing enough to address black home ownership, mass incarceration and black and brown entrepreneurship but called him a political mentor and friend.
"Everybody should have the opportunity for a Milwaukee that is for all not for some," said Taylor. We are more than downtown, we are neighborhoods."
Taylor grew up in the Capitol Drive neighborhood. She's an alumni of Rufus King High School and UW-Milwaukee, even earning a law degree from a school in Illinois. As a seasoned veteran in the political world, Taylor has been a State Senator for nearly a dozen years.
However her political journey hasn't occurred without controversy. Taylor was cited for disorderly conduct in 2018 after getting into an argument with a bank teller, accused of using a racist insult. But on Tuesday, the politician said there's two sides to every story. "This is what I will tell you, that is the past, she said."
"We need more jobs here on the north side," said a local resident. "There are better jobs as we all know on the east side compared to north side and south side," the man said.
Another local resident believes more needs to be done for the city. "The next mayor needs to be more sympathetic to the people and the communities," said Charles Oatis.
Mayor Tom Barrett released a statement Tuesday referencing the mayoral candidate announcements.
"I wake up every day to fight for every corner of our great city. We can't stop now making this city a place that works for you, your family, your neighbors and your hopes for the future," Mayor Barrett said.
Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski is one of three other candidates besides Senator Taylor running for Mayor. TODAY'S TMJ4 caught up with him Tuesday to get his thoughts on having another challenger.
"I'm happy to go up against anybody," said Zielinski. "My platform, my vision my sense of urgency is what this city needs and no matter who i run against that message will resonate," he said.
Other candidates for Mayor so far include Tremell Noble -- who also ran for Milwaukee County Sheriff and Paul Rasky. Current Mayor Tom Barrett has not officially declared a re-election bid. Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton has also submitted paperwork, but has not officially declared a run.