Milwaukee mayoral forum, primary election Tuesday

Less than one week away from the primary election for Milwaukee's next mayor, all seven candidates gathered at Turner Hall Wednesday, Feb. 9 to answer questions from the public. 

Before Wednesday's forum, FOX6 met up with each candidate and asked them the same questions. The differences in their answers represent the varying paths Milwaukee could take. 

On the Turner Hall stage Wednesday night were seven people that could be the next leader of Milwaukee. In the 24 hours before the forum, there were three more homicides across the city, with Milwaukee on track to break the homicide record for the third straight year.

"We’ve got to have our law enforcement out there doing what it is we ask them to do, serving and protecting our community," said Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas.

Lucas said his focus his supporting police. It's a similar stance as that of former Alderman Bob Donovan.

"We need to provide the Milwaukee Police Department with the necessary manpower to do their job effectively," said Donovan.

Several of the other candidates said they're focused on social services to try and prevent the violence.

"We need less guns on the streets, and I have called for violence prevention," said Marina Dimitrijevic. "We need to implement the Blueprint of Peace immediately."

"I want to be focused on root-cause issues so that we can really address this long-term," said Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. "We got to work to make sure that the people of the city of Milwaukee have access to family-supporting jobs."

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

Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor also said she wants to look at the root cause, but she first said change is needed at the courthouse.

"We have to ask the courts to be able to have a three-year delay for individuals who are charged to be able to prosecute," said Taylor. "We’ve got to have a better investigations process."

Business owner Michael Sampson is taking a different approach, saying he will take a close look at Police Chief Jeffrey Norman's performance.

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"I’m not here to micromanage an office," said Sampson. "I’m paying him to do a job. If he’s not doing the job, I’m going to find someone else."

The primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 15. The top two vote-getters will move on to the April 5 primary. 

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