MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Common Council has selected District 12 Alderman Jose G. Perez to be their next president, a historic moment marking the first time a Hispanic person has held the position.
"I want my time as your president to be about hope, about the future," said Perez.
The decision made Tuesday has Hispanic organizations across Milwaukee applauding the alderman, giving them hope for the future.
"He has a good record for standing up for working people and standing up for what's right," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the executive director of Voces de la Frontera.
Neumann-Ortiz says having Perez in this historic position is huge. She hopes Perez will actively engage with the community when addressing certain issues within the city.
"It's not just black or Latino, it's that you share the values and that you have a deep commitment to meaningfully engage the community and the problems that need to be solved," she said.
One of the things Neumann-Ortiz hopes Perez will bring light to in his new position is making voting more accessible in the Hispanic community and protecting their rights.
"It is a matter of utmost concern to us that we advance immigrant rights in our city," said Neumann-Ortiz.
Perez says he's ready to take on the challenge.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone and I really look forward to this work," said Perez.
In 2012, Perez was elected to his first term on the Milwaukee Common Council. He has a biography on the city's website, which can be read here. You can also watch his speech after being chosen as president here:
Alderman Michael Murphy stepped into the role in an acting capacity last week when Mayor Cavalier Johnson took the oath of office.
Perez will serve the remainder of the term left by Mayor Johnson, which is about two years. Johnson is serving the rest of the term former Mayor Barrett left when he became U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Johnson was selected President in 2020.
Forward Latino issued the following statement:
“Today we congratulate Alderman José Pérez on his unanimous election to the position of Milwaukee Common Council President. This is the first time in city’s 176-year history that a Hispanic has been elected to the position. Milwaukee can now boast its first Black Mayor and first Hispanic Common Council President.
President Pérez has proven his ability to look at complex problems and to not only develop solutions, but to develop consensus around these solutions so they can be implemented. He has been instrumental in a wide range of initiatives that range from public safety and community-oriented policing, to job training, to increasing investment in Milwaukee’s communities most in need and more.
Equally important, he has always been willing to listen to every voice and taken the input into consideration on major decisions. Today Milwaukee’s Hispanic community can take pride in his accomplishment, but more importantly, Milwaukee can take great pride in having city wide leadership that truly represents the majority of our great city.”