Milwaukee mayor election 2022: Candidates on key issues

The seven candidates for Milwaukee mayor are making their pitches to become the city's next chief executive. A primary is set for Tuesday, Feb. 15 – with the general election on April 5. But before you head to the polls to cast your ballot, do you know where the candidates stand on the key issues facing voters right now?

FOX6 News recently asked each of the mayoral candidates to answer three simple questions on those key issues – violence, reckless driving, and what sets them apart from other others. We broke out the answers to those three questions below – and presented their responses in alphabetical order – from Dimitrijevic to Taylor.

Plan to reverse trend of violence

Milwaukee has set the homicide record two years in a row. It's on pace this year to do it again in 2022. What is your plan to reverse this trend?

Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee Alderwoman

"We need less guns on the streets, and I have called for violence prevention. We need to implement the blueprint of peace immediately. We need to stop the cycle, provide people the support that they need, and get the guns of the streets."

"When we invest in prevention, we save lives and save money."

Bob Donovan, former Milwaukee Alderman

"We need to provide the Milwaukee police department with the necessary manpower to do their job effectively. They are hundreds of positions short of what they need to be."

"We need to work closely with the district attorney and the judges. People have an expectation that criminals are going to be held accountable for the crimes they commit. In many instances, that’s not happening now."

Ieshuh Griffin, community activist

"I have the Ieshuh for the people plan trying to get resources to the people in a number of different areas to alleviate the problem before it gets to be so detrimental."

"Resources in financial literacy, counseling, different things of that nature."

"A lot of these homicides, for instance, are because of reckless decisions, desperation, things of that nature. Sometimes it involves money. Sometimes it involves arguments, things that can be prevented."

Cavalier Johnson, acting Mayor of Milwaukee

"Public safety has to be a multipronged approach. It can’t be all eggs in one basket. It can’t just be all police."

"I want to be focused on root-cause issues so that we can really address this long-term. We got to work to make sure that the people of the city of Milwaukee have access to family-supporting jobs. That’s the foundation that we have to build our city on."

Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee County Sheriff

"We’ve got to have our law enforcement out there doing what it is we ask them to do: serving and protecting our community. We got to interdict the cars that are bringing the illegal guns, the gangs, the drugs, into our community."

"Everybody plays a role and certainly law enforcement must do its part, but we’ve got to be out there doing the work that people expect of us to do."

Michael Sampson, Milwaukee business owner

"I think the first day in office, you’ve got to reach out to mayors in other cities across the United States because it’s happening everywhere right now. I think it’s an effect of COVID. It’s been a lot of hardship the last couple of years for people and people are desperate, doing things they wouldn’t normally do. We got to address this in the whole of the United States."

"I’m not here to micromanage an office. I’m paying him to do a job. If he (Chief Jeffrey Norman) is not doing the job, I’m going to find someone else. You’re the chief of police. You got to be doing a better job, and we got to have a plan to attack these things and put things in place to end the violence that’s currently happening." 

Lena Taylor, state senator (D-Milwaukee)

"We have to ask the courts to be able to have a 3-year delay for individuals who are charged to be able to prosecuted. We’ve got to have a better investigations process. We have about 60% of our homicides, we have no idea, no resolution."

"I think we can ask for help both federally and from the state in order to do that, but I also think we have to look into it and dive into it to find out."

"We’re going to also have to go upstream to do some things to prevent people from going down the path of hopelessness, because that really is at the root of it also. That accountability, it got to happen in the court system."

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Plan to make Milwaukee streets safer

Car thefts have also gone up. Stolen cars are then often involved in reckless driving. What is your plan to make the streets safer?

Marina Dimitrijevic

"I’ve called for universal free driver’s education in all Milwaukee public schools. It’s a great place to start."

Bob Donovan

"First, you start by sending a message loud and clear that this isn’t going to be tolerated anymore. Then you follow up with action."

"I believe it’s incredibly necessary that we begin arresting these individuals responsible, towing the vehicles. There needs to also be, in many instances these are young people, we need a more comprehensive juvenile justice system in Milwaukee."

Ieshuh Griffin

"I have different things like breathalyzers, when you get to a certain point, ignition lock, steering wheel locks."

Cavalier Johnson

"The plan is called STAND for safer streets. STAND is an acronym. The S is for safer street design. The T stands for traffic enforcement. The A stands for accountability. The N for neighborhood engagement. And the D for demanding progress."

Earnell Lucas

"It comes from changing some behaviors in our community. We’ve got to address the problem of young men wanting to be involved in reckless driving and auto theft."

"We’ve got to strengthen families in our community. Make access to family-sustaining jobs and housing. There’s so many issues and challenges. It’s just not one."

Michael Sampson

"Red light cameras are needed immediately , like yesterday. It’s an opportunity for the city to make money. The city needs to make money right now with the pension crisis coming up, so this is a way to send tickets in the mail to people."

"Roundabouts. The reason roundabouts are all over Europe, all over Mexico, they work. Let’s get more."

Lena Taylor

"We need kill switches for those vehicles. We need Kia and Hyundai to help with that. If we can’t get that right away, we need to think out of the box and ask our car dealerships and auto mechanic shops and our people who do this work to help us to know what we can do to address, because those are the high-rate numbers that we’re getting on those vehicles."

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Candidate differences

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Marina Dimitrijevic

"I do have a great deal of elected experience from the county board to the common council. I could make history as the first woman. I’m a mom of a 5 and 3 year old, so I am ready. I am the woman for the job."

Bob Donovan

"I walked the walk. For 20 years, I represented a district. I fought for their best interests because that was my job as alderman. As mayor, I will fight for all of us. I know what works at city hall and what doesn’t work."

Ieshuh Griffin

"I’m definitely of the people, for the people, by the people. My opponents are all self-serving. There’s an agenda for each one."

Cavalier Johnson

"I grew up in the most depressed neighborhoods in Milwaukee, bar none. I know those challenges. I know the people who live there. I know how to overcome those challenges."

"I know how to get things done in the legislative branch and move things forward, so we can get things done for the city of Milwaukee."

"I’m already the Mayor. Like, I have a clear line of sight of what the job entails, what needs to happen. I know what’s going on. I don’t need to be caught up to speed."

Earnell Lucas

"Right now, Milwaukee needs a leader who has experience to make the difficult decisions that Milwaukee is facing. I’ve certainly had 4+ decades of experience. I’ve traveled the country, and I’ve traveled the world over."

"I’m someone who is going to stand by the people in these difficult times. As a product of this community, born and raised in this community. My commitment is to work to do everything we can to make our city safe and to inspire young people in the community that they can go on and do whatever it is they set their minds to."

Michael Sampson

"I haven’t been in office. I have no connections to city hall. I’m not bought and paid for. If you’re looking for a candidate that’s going to come in with new ideas and change things in Milwaukee, vote Sampson."

Lena Taylor

"Experience. 18 years, 14 years on the Joint Committee on finance with $70 almost billion dollar budget for the state, bringing millions home back to Milwaukee. Being someone who is born and raised, living on the block that I grew up on in Milwaukee."

"I bring a whole gamut of experience, passion, answering the call of constituents to the table that many of my colleagues or other opponents do not."