By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
In 2016, Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) was elected to the state assembly for District 17. As a local Milwaukeean, Crowley helped create policies that would benefit and uplift Milwaukee. Earlier this week, Crowley announced his decision to run for Milwaukee County Executive.
According to The Center Square, there are currently six candidates running or interested in running for Milwaukee County Executive: State Sen. Chris Larson, Rep. David Crowley, Milwaukee Ald. Cavalier Johnson, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy, Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman and Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson.
In the official press release announcing his decision, Crowley said Milwaukee County is a place of opportunity, with beautiful places to live, a nationally recognized park system and a thriving downtown. “There are a lot of exciting things happening in our community, but just a few miles away from all of this excitement, many of our residents are struggling,” he said in the release.
During an interview, Crowley expressed his love for Milwaukee County.
“Growing up here in Milwaukee, my family struggled,” he said. “We had to rely on many county services.”
He added that when he entered the world of politics, he was then able to help provide those services to Milwaukee residents.
“I think that uniquely qualifies me to be the next Milwaukee County Executive,” he said.
Crowley said that the next Milwaukee County Executive needs to be a bridge builder, someone who can get Democrats, Republicans, groups of organized labor, the business sector and so on to come together at the same table.
“The real fight isn’t with each other,” he said. “The real fight is what we needed to be bringing to the state legislature, fighting for more resources to bring to Milwaukee County.”
Crowley currently serves on several committees including the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. He said that during a session regarding Lincoln Hills, the state’s detention center for youth, he successfully brought Democrats and Republicans together to hammer out a deal to close Lincoln Hills in 2021.
He said that the current political climate has both extremes fighting each other, but to achieve Milwaukee’s goals such as becoming more financially solvent, Milwaukee requires a leader who can bring both sides together.
In addition to being a bridge builder, Crowley said that one of the skills that make him a great leader is his ability to connect with anybody. It’s about building authentic relationships, he said.
Bringing resources to Milwaukee is his number one goal. He said four years won’t be enough to solve every issue in Milwaukee, but it will allow him to broaden the table and invite more people to help create solutions.
Making sure there’s a complete count during the 2020 census, is one of the ways to bring more resources to Milwaukee, he said.
One of the biggest issues, which Crowley has worked on in the past, is reckless driving. As County Executive he would work with other municipalities to make the streets a safer place to be. Crowley also pushed for the red-light cameras.
The red-light cameras have been proven to work to help reduce reckless driving, he said. While there’s been some pushback in the past, Crowley explained that a police officer would watch the live footage recording before a ticket is issued.
Another issue that Crowley plans to work on is bringing more revenue to the county. He said it begins with the state legislature but added that the county can find creative ways to increase revenue, which go beyond fees and taxes.
For many of the issues and topics, Crowley expressed his desire to find creative solutions and include everybody from all sides in the conversation. To do this, Crowley said he plans to go out to the public and community and ask them their thoughts.
“As elected officials we shouldn’t be making any decisions without the community’s input and I’m going to be making sure that it is a priority,” he said.
He said he does not plan to sell county parks, but rather find ways to improve them. He is also a proponent of the legalization of marijuana.
Some of the issues he plans to address include increasing access to opportunity, employment, transit and healthcare.
“If I could wrap that all into one, it’s really making sure that we can maintain and improve the quality of life for every local Milwaukee County resident,” he said.
The non-partisan primary election will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 with the general election to follow on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.