Mayor Tom Barrett ambassadorship brings change to City Hall

By: - December 20, 2021 10:32 am
Mayor Tom Barrett (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

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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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award.