Vos’ move on racial justice – task force appointed

By: - October 21, 2020 5:04 pm
Kenosha Protests

Riot officers stream out of the Kenosha Public Safety Building. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)

Seeking action on racial justice, disparities and policing in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police, the Legislative Black Caucus members worked with Gov. Tony Evers on a package of bills which he unveiled on June 19. After several months of no movement — and the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha — Evers again called the Legislature in to tackle those bills and the bigger issues. 

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos refused, gaveling in as a required procedure but taking no action, not even meeting. The Legislature has not met in more than six months on any topic, but today Vos appointed members of a task force he is assigning to look at the issues of policing and racial justice. 

Rep. Kalan Haywood

Portrait: Majority Leader Jim Steineke
Majority Leader Jim Steineke

Rep. Robert Wittke

Rep. Sheila Stubbs (Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Legislature)
Rep. Sheila Stubbs

On Wednesday he chose the task for members and announced it will be called the “Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities.” Previously, he had announced the chairs as Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison). The two additional legislators he added are Rep. Kalen Haywood (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine).

The task force also includes a large number of  community members — a total of 28 — which is unusual. Vos said he had more than 100 people apply to be on it and spent a month interviewing applicants. 


“We will now move forward with an unprecedented, community-focused group,” said Vos in a release. “The membership represents a diversity of experiences, backgrounds and geography of the state.”

 An introductory meeting of the group will take place at 1 p.m., Oct. 28 in 412 East at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

The members of the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities are:

 Rep. Jim Steineke, Task Force Co-Chair

Rep. Shelia Stubbs, Task Force Co-Chair

Rep. Kalan Haywood (D-Milwaukee)

Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine)

Rev. Marcus Allen, Pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Madison and U.S. Army Veteran

Rev. Yao Yang, Pastor, The Cross Church, Wausau, Joseph Project Leader and Executive Director of The Gospel TLC

Tehassi Hill, Chair, Oneida Nation

Ricardo Diaz, retired former Executive Director, United Community Center, Milwaukee

Rebecca Burrell, Activist, Entrepreneur, Singer/Songwriter

Pastor Jerome Smith, Greater Praise Church of God In Christ, Milwaukee, Joseph Project Leader

Marty Calderon, God Touch Ministry, Milwaukee

Dr. Jeremiah Holiday, Chief Academic Officer, Milwaukee Public Schools

Fred Royal, President, Milwaukee NAACP

Keetra Burnette, Director, Stakeholder Engagement, United Way of Dane County and Urban League of Greater Madison

Dr. Eve Hall, President and CEO, Milwaukee Urban League

Ossie Kendrix, President and CEO, African-American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin

Theresa Jones, VP for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, Children’s Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Damond Boatwright, Regional President, SSM Health

Linda Fair, Academic Advisor, Blackhawk Technical College

Veronica King, Instructor, Gateway Technical College Instructor and Former Department of Corrections Social Worker

Ted Nietzke, CEO, CESA 6 and Former West Bend School District Superintendent

Tory Lowe, Co-founder and CEO, Justice of Wisconsin

Pam Holmes, Retired Milwaukee Police Officer, President of the National Black Police Association- Wisconsin Chapter

Tony Gonzalez, Founder and Co-Chair, Toward One Wausau

Patrick Mitchell, Chief of Police, West Allis Police Department

Danilo Cardenas, Secretary/Treasurer, Milwaukee Police Association

Jim Palmer, Executive Director, Wisconsin Professional Police Association

Nate Dreckman – Grant County Sheriff

Pastor Dannie Evans, House of God Church, Janesville, WI and Former Probation and Parole Agent

Steven Roux, Rice Lake Police Chief

Wayne Strong, Retired Lieutenant, Madison Police Department

Kalvin Barrett, Law Enforcement Instructor, Madison College

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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.