Vos’ move on racial justice – task force appointed

    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


    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin 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. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin 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.