This week, I turned in my nomination papers, making me an official candidate for re-election to the State Senate!
I knew at a very young age watching my grandmother that serving people and fighting for justice would be my life’s work.
My grandmother ran a grocery store. As a little girl, I worked for candy. I didn’t know there was such a thing as child labor laws. At that store, I learned more than just work ethic. I learned there’s more to running a business than just the bottom line.
Yes, my grandmother ran a grocery store. But she was also the local food pantry and bank. When our neighbors were in a bad way, she’d lend them money to pay their bills. When they were hungry and couldn’t afford all their groceries, she helped them out with some food.
My grandmother was a public servant and she wasn’t elected to nothing. Growing up in Milwaukee, I saw first hand how the justice system fails our community. They say justice is blind, but you and I know better. Justice often goes to the person with the best lawyer. That’s a big part of why I went to law school and became a public defender. As a public defender, I didn’t just stand next to my clients; I stood with them and fought for them. Sometimes people do bad things, but if we allow the corrections system to chew them up and spit them back out, it ruins not just their life, but their entire family suffers.
What I learned as a public defender is that the law often doesn’t work for the people. I could have kept fighting one client at a time. Instead, I made a choice to run for office to help change the law. In the past 13 years, I’ve authored more than 600 bills and 101 of them have become law. To see the full list, click here. Some of the highlights include:
• Requiring an independent review of officer-involved deaths – this bill became the first such law in the nation.
• State funding for Milwaukee’s Shot Spotter program – This bill tripled the miles Shot Spotter could help police track gunshots to keep our neighborhoods safe.
• Healthy Youth Act – This law required teaching of comprehensive sex education in schools to help reduce the teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates.
But there’s more. Very early in my career, I was able to position myself for an appointment on the powerful Joint Committee on Finance. The committee handles the state’s $70 billion biennial budget. Fighting for justice means more to me than just fighting for those in trouble with the law. It also means giving a voice to the voiceless children in our community. With Wisconsin rated the worst state in the nation to raise a black child, I do my best to be the voice of the babies in our Legislature. Through my position on the budget committee, I’ve won major victories for our kids. They include:
• Creating the Department of Children and Families.
• Securing more than $100 million for public schools
• Passing Wisconsin’s most comprehensive accountability for voucher schools.
As you can see, I’m not new to this, I’m true to this and my record speaks for itself. On August 9th, I will be up for re-election. I don’t mean no harm, but my opponent, Mandela Barnes, hasn’t passed a single bill into law in his four years in office. He has also never served on the state budget committee and, when given the chance to support my bill to provide $1 million to the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project, he voted against the bill.
I say “yes” to kids and my opponent says “no.” On August 9th, I hope you’ll say yes to me by voting to re-elect me to the State Senate.