Mayor Tom Barrett (Photo | Isiah Holmes)
Mayor Tom Barrett’s ambassadorship to Luxembourg has been approved, and his resignation is expected by Dc. 28. After nearly two decades as Milwaukee’s mayor, Barrett’s resignation opens a political vacuum which several politicians are eager to fill. Until the end of December, however, the city and its residents will wait as the process concludes.
“I have repeatedly said I want this transition to be smooth,” said Barrett, “I want it to be of no cost to the taxpayers.” Barrett is also sticking with custom as a State Department nominee and not participating in political activity. According to Urban Milwaukee, this means Barrett will not make an endorsement in the non-partisan race to determine his successor.
Until a new election is held, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson will serve as acting mayor once Barrett leaves. Johnson has outlined his hopes to not only improve the city’s relationship with the state Legislature, but also address public safety issues and economic hardship.
Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas has also thrown his hat in the ring. Lucas’ election marked an end to the flamboyantly tough-on-crime Sheriff David Clarke era in Milwaukee. However, Lucas has also faced criticism over increases to the office’s budget, and the acts of deputies during protests in 2020 and after. Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, and former Ald. Bob Donovan are also potential candidates. Donovan has been a vocal conservative, pro-police voice on the Common Council. Donovan also opposed the renaming of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Thus far, seven candidates have filed to replace Barrett.
More candidates are hovering around the race, with some yet to make a public announcement. Barrett had a simple message for the next mayor. “It is really important to remember you are the mayor to the entire city,” said Barrett. “I absolutely love this job because I love this city. As we all recognize there are different chapters in life and I am eager to start that next chapter.”
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