Milwaukee Mayoral Candidates: A Preview

by Sonya Jongsma Knauss

It’s a question any neighborhood should be concerned about, because the person leading the city has a profound effect on how things are done in our neighborhoods. To help our readers learn a bit more about each of the candidates, the Riverwest Currents will publish information about the candidates each month leading up to the April elections. With Mayor John O. Norquist off to Chicago to accept a job as president and chief executive officer for the Congress for The New Urbanism starting January 1, Common Council President Marvin Pratt will have some time to test his legs in the new job and will enter the race as an incumbent. Former Congressman Tom Barrett joins a field that includes Alderman Tom Nardelli, State Representative Pedro Colon (D-Milwaukee), businesswoman Sandy Folaron, school teacher John Pitta, and Martin Matson, deputy director of the city pension office. Third District Alderman Mike D’Amato, who had been undecided earlier in the season, has decided not to run. This is the first open mayoral seat in Milwaukee in 16 years. We should choose wisely. For starters, here’s a little biographical information about each candidate. Check the Riverwest Currents next month for information about the candidates’ views.

Tom Barrett

Barrett is a Milwaukee politician (Democrat) who served in the Assembly, the state Senate, and Congress and lost a close Democratic governor’s primary last year. According to most polls, Barrett was the instant frontrunner once he announced his candidacy.

Pedro Colon Colon, a Walkers Point resident, is a state representative (D- Milwaukee). He also practices law on a part-time basis at the law firm of Baxter & O’Meara. Colon’s campaign is emphasizing the need for better schools, better jobs, safer streets and neighborhoods.

Sandy Folaron Folaron has been actively involved with various neighborhood and community organizations in the Washington Heights area and city-wide. She is president of the West End Vliet Street Business Association. A strong supporter of public transportation, you may have seen her ads on the yellow buses.

Martin Matson Matson is the deputy director of the city pension office. He has 10 years experience working for the city, six of those in the Department of Public Works in accounting and business operations. Matson is running under the slogan “Giving the city back to the people.”

Tom Nardelli Nardelli has been a member of the Common Council for 16 years. He represents the 15th Aldermanic District and chairs the Public Safety Committee. The theme of his campaign, in light of recent city hall scandals and indictments, is “rebuilding trust.”

John Pitta Pitta is a seventh grade math teacher at Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts. He is finishing his work on a principal’s license and has previously worked for J.M. Brennan Inc. and Johnson Controls. Pitta has a “3-point plan” to improve Milwaukee: offense — better marketing of the city, defense — fighting crime and providing better health care, and an assist — accessibility and youth development.

Marvin Pratt Pratt, who resides in the Rufus King neighborhood, has been president of the Common Council for three years and will serve as mayor for several months after Mayor Norquist steps down in January. Pratt was elected in 1987 and had 15 prior years of city government experience. What do you want to know about the next leader of our city? Send your questions to us at . Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 7 – July 2003
by Sonya Jongsma Knauss