MILWAUKEE - Seven candidates are running to become Milwaukee's next mayor.
With the primary election is less than two weeks away, a forum Thursday night brought those candidates together in person to discuss issues and hear directly from voters.
The issues discussed ranged from crime to education to racial disparities. Of the seven candidates, six were able to attend at El Bethel Church; Michael Sampson was sick and unable to attend.
The candidates answered questions, which largely came from pastors or those who represent church communities in Milwaukee. Those who attended are looking for change to come from the city's next mayor.
"I’m giving you an opportunity to bring the city back to you all," candidate and activist Ieshuh Griffin said. "I’m very different from the rest of the candidates."
2022 Milwaukee mayoral candidates
"We can’t change the plight of this city unless we change health and wealth," said State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), who is running for mayor. "If we don’t change that, the mind doesn’t change, nothing else will change."
Another big topic discussed was public safety.
"The most pressing underlying issue as it relates to crime here in our city is, without a doubt, is our disparities in education," Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, who is also running for mayor, said. "Our young people need opportunities in education to grow."
"Without safety, nothing else positive can occur again. I think whoever’s sitting in the mayor's office needs to get local government working again," said candidate Bob Donovan, a former Milwaukee alderman.
Candidates worked to answer how to attract people to the city, too, and how to improve the lives of those who are already here.
"Wage stagnation is not OK, two parents working day and night still living in poverty," Aldererwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, one of the candidates, said.
"You need justice, you need education, you need employment, you need housing, you also need health care. If you don’t have that you don’t have a strong society, you don’t have a strong community," said Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson, who is vying for the permanent job.
Early voting is currently open in the Feb. 15 primary. The general election is April 5.