Hey Milwaukee! The 2020 Spring Primary Election is next week, on Tuesday, February 18. Fun! Okay, so it’s not the flashiest election out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s bereft of some super important races. And because only a fraction of voting-age adults actually vote in these damn things, your vote really, really counts. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, on the right side of history or on the wrong, you should totally vote.
The non-partisan election is a mix of city (Milwaukee Mayor), district-specific (Milwaukee alderperson), county (Milwaukee County Executive), and state races (Justice of the Supreme Court). Find out where to vote, how to vote, and what your ballot will look like HERE. Find out who the Shepherd Express is endorsing HERE. The top two winners will advance to the 2020 General Election on Tuesday, April 7.
Here are the candidates, complete with their bios from their websites.
Justice Daniel Kelly has dedicated a lifetime to the law. His position today on the Wisconsin Supreme Court is the capstone of a vast legal career in nearly every area of legal practice.
As a student at Regent University Law School, he was founding editor-in-chief of the law review. After graduation, he landed prestigious clerkships on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Office of Special Masters).
After serving as a staff attorney with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Office of Special Masters), Justice Kelly moved into private practice. While he focused primarily on commercial litigation, Kelly also developed his criminal law and trial experience by representing individuals in both misdemeanor and felony cases. Kelly later gained valuable prosecutorial experience while serving in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office as a special prosecutor where he tried misdemeanor and felony cases. For his service as a special prosecutor, Justice Kelly was awarded the Outstanding Service to Milwaukee County Award in 2002.
During over two decades in private practice, Kelly argued some of the most important cases in the state. While at one of Milwaukee’s premier law firms, Kelly headed the appellate practice group, personally arguing over a dozen cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He also served as second-chair on behalf of a University of Wisconsin student before the United States Supreme Court. His clients included dairy farmers, small businesses, a chamber of commerce, and even Cabela’s sporting goods store. Because of his broad legal expertise, Justice Kelly has been repeatedly called upon to instruct continuing legal education (CLE) workshops.
In addition to his regular work, Kelly always carved out time for issues he was passionate about. For instance, he filed a brief in the Wisconsin Supreme Court defending the state’s then-new school-choice program for low-income children in Milwaukee. He represented a faith-based community services group when an atheist organization challenged their right to participate in government programs. And he represented an inner-city church in its battle with municipal bureaucrats.
Kelly eventually stepped away from the day-to-day practice of law to serve as vice-president and general counsel for one of Wisconsin’s largest charitable organizations. There he helped facilitate philanthropic support for nonprofit organizations that make Wisconsin such a great place to live, like the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Teach for America.
Kelly returned to the practice of law when he co-founded his own firm, Roghan Kelly, in Waukesha County. And throughout these jobs, he stayed active in his community, serving on the Wisconsin Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the President’s Council for Carroll University (his undergraduate alma mater).
Four years ago, Kelly achieved the highest honor available to a Wisconsin lawyer: a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Since his appointment, he has reviewed thousands of cases, and personally authored dozens of leading legal opinions. His work on the Court reflects the values that he has displayed throughout his legal career: relentless logic, rigorous analysis, and hard work, all done with a friendly, collegial attitude. He’s earned the respect of judges, lawyers, and law enforcement through even-handed application of the law to the facts in every case.
In the election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Kelly’s experience, knowledge, and judicial temperament are simply unmatched.
Jill J. Karofsky
A dedicated advocate for victims and the rights of all residents of Wisconsin, Judge Karofsky previously served as executive director of the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services. She also worked as an Assistant Attorney General, serving as the state’s Violence Against Women resource prosecutor, and as deputy district attorney in Dane County, prosecuting felonies and misdemeanors. She also worked as general counsel for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, teaching about victims in the criminal justice system and trial advocacy.
Judge Karofsky is an ultra-marathoner and has completed multiple Ironmans. She was born and raised in south-central Wisconsin and attended public schools. Jill was a state tennis champion, a Division I athlete at Duke University, and graduated with both a master’s degree and law degree from UW-Madison.
Judge Karofsky received the WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s ‘Voices of Courage Award,’ was named the WI Victim/Witness Professional Association’s ‘Professional of the Year,’ and earned a ‘Significant Impact’ Award from a local organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. She currently serves on the Wisconsin Judicial Education Committee and chairs the Violence Against Women STOP Grant committee. She previously co-chaired the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team, and served on the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, the WI Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council, and the Dane County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors. A partial listing of awards and volunteer service commitments are below.
Karofsky is the daughter of Peter Karofsky, a local pediatrician, and former Middleton Mayor Judy Karofsky, one of the first women in Wisconsin to serve as mayor. She has two children, a daughter in college and a son in high school, and a golden retriever named Cleo.
Ed Fallone grew up in a middle-class family in Maryland. The son of a public school teacher and a stay-at-home mom, Ed learned early on that success in life requires hard work.
These lessons were passed down through generations on both sides of Ed’s family. Ed’s great grandfather was an Italian immigrant and his grandfather worked both in the steel mills of Pittsburgh and as a farmer. Ed’s maternal grandfather ran a small corner store in Mexico City where he raised Ed’s mother.
As one of four children, Ed worked hard to earn an academic scholarship to Boston University for both his undergraduate and law degrees. After graduating at the top of his class, he was recruited by Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Jacobson in Washington, D.C., where he worked on one of the largest criminal grand jury investigations in U.S. history.
Ultimately, Ed was driven to follow in his father’s footsteps. He and his wife, Heidi, moved to Wisconsin in 1992 where Ed began a more than 25-year teaching career at Marquette University Law School.
Ed has dedicated his life to making the legal system more affordable for low-income and middle-income individuals, and to supporting the needs of the Latino community in Wisconsin.
He served on the boards of organizations such as Voces de la Frontera Accion, the Latino Community Center, Centro Legal, Catholic Charities Legal Services for Immigrants, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Along with his wife, Heidi, Ed also founded the patient advocacy organization Stem Cell Now.
Ed and Heidi, who live in Milwaukee, have been married for 28 years and have two children, Emma and Andrew.
Tom Barrett’s story is deeply rooted in Wisconsin.
His mother was from Door County, and his father made his home in the Badger State after the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) deployed him to Oshkosh for training during World War II.
Tom’s parents settled in Milwaukee, where they raised Tom and his brother and two sisters in a middle class home on the city’s west side.
Tom grew up cheering for the Braves, and of course, the Brewers, along with Badgers, Warriors, and the Packers.
He worked in high school as an usher at County Stadium. He would go on to graduate from college and law school at UW-Madison, spending time in between working on the assembly line at Harley-Davidson.
Tom turned to a career in public service, earning a reputation for his integrity, for his respect of diverse views, his ability to bring people together, and for his hard work.
As Mayor of Milwaukee, he’s created, attracted and saved jobs, solved a budget crisis, substantially reduced crime, and worked to keep the economy on track.
Recognizing we go farther when we go together, Tom helped create the M7 — a regional, bipartisan economic development group comprised of the seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin. The organization’s cooperative efforts have attracted and retained hundreds of jobs across the region.
With Tom leading the way, long abandoned industrial areas like the Menomonee Valley have been transformed into thriving commercial centers that are home to thousands of jobs.
And in just the last year, Tom has helped Helios, Ingeteam and Palermos Pizza build or expand new factories in Wisconsin.
Tom has worked with law enforcement, community groups and residents to develop proactive strategies, and he has empowered the city’s police department with the resources and strong leadership it needs to get the job done. As a result, violent crime in Milwaukee has decreased by 20% over the past two years, and homicides are at the lowest levels in more than 20 years.
When the national economic crisis blew a hole in the city pension fund, threatening Milwaukee’s bottom line, Tom put his principles of responsible budgeting and good stewardship of the people’s tax dollars to work. He cut more than $30 million in spending — balancing the books without questionable accounting tricks, and without saddling future generations with mountains of debt by borrowing money.
Tom has always called Wisconsin home. He and his wife Kris, a teacher, have four children. Their home is in the same neighborhood where Tom grew up, and is the same area he represented in the State Legislature and in Congress. Together, the family stays true to the same Wisconsin values that have guided Tom throughout his entire life.
Alderman Tony Zielinski was first elected supervisor of Milwaukee County’s 12th District in 1988 and was re-elected in 1992, 1996, and 2000. He served as chair of the Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee and as a member of the Personnel Committee.
Tony was first elected to the Milwaukee Common Council as Alderman of the 14th District in April 2004. Alderman Zielinski won re-election in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Tony is a member of the Community and Economic Development Committee, and Judiciary and Legislative Committee.
Alderman Tony Zielinski attended St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, graduating in 1979 with the school’s student rank of Second Lieutenant. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Master of Business Administration degree from Cardinal Stritch University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University Law School.
Tony and his wife Annette live in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.
Lena C. Taylor is serving her fourth term as a Wisconsin State Senator, representing the 4th Senate District, which includes portions of Shorewood, Wauwatosa, Glendale, and Milwaukee. Elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2003 and to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004, Taylor served as the first African-American Chair of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee and the first African-American woman to co-chair the powerful Joint Committee on Finance. Taylor currently serves on the Committee on Insurance, Financial Services, Government Oversight and Courts, Judiciary and Public Safety, Utilities and Housing, and the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties. Taylor has been an extremely effective legislator and seeks to bring those skills back to represent her hometown.
As a Milwaukee native, Taylor still lives on the block she grew up on. She is a graduate of Rufus King H.S. and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After earning a law degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, she practiced as a Public Defender. Eventually, she opened Taylor and Associates Law Office, a general practice firm in Milwaukee before going to the legislature.
Lena is passionate about her work and serving the needs of her district. It is that drive that propelled her decision to run for Mayor. With Milwaukee often leading the nation in negative indices, Taylor is committed to addressing social determinants that cause persistent economic, health and safety issues. Innovative and unwavering in her embrace of technology, Taylor is eager to help Milwaukee redefine and re-imagine its identity. Lena knows that we have talented residents, resources, and the ability to create a city that is inclusive, vibrant, and progressive.
Taylor believes that while Milwaukee has experienced some growth, it has not kept pace with what is needed to ensure all of our residents are afforded a quality life. Whether attracting and retaining talent, or providing needed education, skills, and opportunities, Taylor understands that a rising tide should lift all boats. If the tide doesn’t come in, Lena believes we are obligated to do the heavy lifting to provide the changes we want to see in Milwaukee.
For years, Senator Taylor has partnered with Greater New Birth Church to host monthly free legal clinics for those in need. Taylor is the proud mother to her son, Isaiah. And as always, Lena Taylor is here to serve!
I am passionate about community, public service and dedicated my life to improving collaboration and communication, bringing visibility and strengthening our community. As the Milwaukee County Executive, my goal is to bring each part of our community together to address the challenges that we face and provide solutions that are effective, efficient and sustainable.
My upbringing in poverty, helped me build hardworking, tenacious and humble characteristics. I bring an extensive organizational and community leadership experience to fulfill the duties of Milwaukee County Executive.
I know, what it means to have barely anything. I know what it means to push oneself with little to no resources. We had a pair of shoe, two pair of clothes, handed-down worn-out books, and we read in candle lights – just to give you glimpse. It rained in my village classroom, we waited for the rain to stop so we can go back to the floor (back to study).
I am not a career politician nor from a political background. I bring in real life struggles, modest accomplishments and boat load of hope. I believe in Milwaukee and its potential. We can make Milwaukee better, safer and stronger. And IT’S POSSIBLE.
As a Milwaukee County Executive, I will bring in Transparency, Accountability and Efficiency. I look forward to meet you, talk to you and connect with you.
I am excited to serve you, the community and the Milwaukee County as your MILWAUKEE COUNTY EXECUTIVE.
I believe in Milwaukee, Let’s move ahead!
Theodore A. Lipscomb, Sr.
Lipscomb was first elected to the County Board of Supervisors in 2008, won re-election in 2012, 2016, and 2018, and has been elected three times by his peers to serve as Board Chairman.
Lipscomb has regularly secured important park and parkway investments, improved bus routes and opposed cuts to critical public services. He also led efforts to protect the public transit system from privatization and profiteers. Lipscomb was a lead sponsor of the 2012 Ready to Work Initiative which resulted in over 500 Milwaukeeans being trained and placed in jobs with an average wage above $15.
Lipscomb works for the public interest and has fought for greater transparency in our government. Year after year, he has been one of the most active authors of budget amendments in order to ensure responsible and balanced budgets.
Prior to becoming Chairman, Lipscomb served as Co-Chair of the Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee. He has also served on every standing committee of the Milwaukee County Board, giving him a wide degree of understanding of County budgets and services.
Lipscomb is a graduate of Marquette University High School in Milwaukee and an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee where he earned his bachelor’s degree in architectural studies and a certificate in urban planning. His studies included time abroad at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England and in Paris. He has continued his education with further graduate level studies in real estate finance and law, and has completed various professional certifications.
In addition to his public service, he has worked in both the non-profit and private sector, including running private businesses.
State Senator Chris Larson attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated with a degree in Finance and a minor in Political Science. Chris is the only candidate in the Milwaukee County Executive race with county supervisory experience, a finance degree, and political relationships in Madison to advocate and advance our county.
In 2008, Chris Larson successfully ran for Milwaukee County Supervisor on a platform of adequately investing in our shared parks and transit system. In his first year as a Supervisor, he led the coalition ‘Quality of Life Alliance’ which successfully helped pass a countywide advisory referendum to fund our parks, transit, & emergency medical services with a 1% sales tax while reducing property taxes.
Larson pushed against the establishment and was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate on November 2, 2010 after defeating an incumbent from his own party. He was the youngest state senator upon his election. Just two years later, he was selected by his colleagues to serve as Senate Democratic Leader for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session.
In his time in the Wisconsin State Senate, Larson has fought for increased funding for our public education system, the removal of lead in our public water supply, and common-sense gun control reforms to keep our communities safe.
He currently serves on the Committee on Administrative Rules; Senate Committee on Agriculture; the Senate Committee on Education; Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families; the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules; and the Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions.
On the Senate Committee on Education, he advocated for providing each and every child with a quality education, as well as investing in our neighborhood schools. As a strong proponent for safeguarding our shared public lands, lakes, and rivers, Chris was a natural fit for the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Tourism, and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, both of which he’s served on in the past.
Larson was at the forefront of fighting against the attacks on workers in our state during Act 10 and against ALEC modeled RTW legislation, as well as the repeal of Prevailing Wage as a member of the Senate Labor and Government Reform Committee.
As a lifelong resident, Rep. David Crowley knows as well as anyone that Milwaukee County is truly a tale of two different counties. He has lived through many of the economic and racial struggles that residents across this community face every day. He has also experienced the joy of members of the community coming together to take care of one another and make life better for us all.
Growing up in a working-class family in Milwaukee’s 53206 neighborhood, David was no stranger to hardship. As a child, David’s family moved around frequently, often as a result of evictions. He lived in a home with multiple family members who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction, and saw first-hand the impact that these issues have on our community. He knows the importance of making sure that Milwaukee County residents are able to access treatment and support.
David credits the Milwaukee youth organization Urban Underground for saving his life. He found a support network and a community of people that cared about him, which put him on the path to public service.
While still in high school, David served as a Community Justice Coordinator with Urban Underground, giving him his start in community organizing. He then joined AmeriCorps when he turned 18, and worked with several other community organizations including Project Return, Safe & Sound Inc., and COA Youth and Family Centers. David also worked as a legislative aide for the Milwaukee County Board and the Wisconsin State Senate.
David’s attention then turned to his own elected service, and he was elected in 2016 to serve Wisconsin’s 17th Assembly District, representing almost 60,000 citizens in the State Legislature.
In the Assembly, he has spent every day fighting to make sure that all our community’s residents have a steadfast advocate in the State Capitol. David Crowley has worked with legislators from both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that benefits not only the residents of his district, but people across Milwaukee County and the entire State of Wisconsin.
David sits on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Small Business Development, Workforce Development, Transportation, and Jobs and Economy Committees. He is the Chair of the Milwaukee Caucus, the Chair of the Black Caucus and the co-Chair of the Black and Latino Caucus. David serves on the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority board and is a member of numerous community organizations including the ACLU, Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, and the Milwaukee NAACP.
David attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and currently lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Ericka, and his three young daughters.
David is running for Milwaukee County Executive so that he can give back to the community that has given him so much. Whether it’s getting people to and from work, providing health care services, helping families find somewhere to live, providing recreational space, or maintaining public safety; county government directly affects the daily lives of every resident of Milwaukee County.
As County Executive, David Crowley will do everything he can to make sure that residents across Milwaukee County, no matter their background, get access to the services that they need and that taxpayers are getting value for their dollar.”
Jason Fields is a current member of the Wisconsin State Legislature, serving on the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions. First elected to the State Assembly in 2004, Jason has become a leader in matters of state and local finance.
His career in business and finance runs deep, having started a venture capital fund, a business consulting firm, and having worked directly in the banking and securities industry.
Jason has always been deeply involved in his community and is well known by his constituents who he proudly represents while serving in the State Assembly.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, his ties to our city and his community are seen in his commitment to public service, which is why he has a passion for making positive change for everyone in our city. Jason is running for Comptroller because he feels Milwaukee is at a crucial moment in its history and he wants to bring his professional background in finance to City Hall to be Milwaukee’s chief financial officer.
He and his wife, La Tasha Fields, live in Milwaukee’s Wyrick Park neighborhood.
Aycha is a rare, municipal finance expert. She has over a decade of experience accurately managing, analyzing and reporting the City’s fiscal activities with complete transparency. She has served as Deputy Comptroller for 3 years and has worked in progressively responsible roles in the comptroller’s office since 2010.
Aycha’s City career began as an auditor in 2010. In less than a year she was promoted to Lead Auditor, and then to Audit Manager in early 2012. As a manager, she conducted an in-depth audit risk assessment in order to gauge a multi-year audit plan that covered high and medium risk areas of the city. The division also underwent comprehensive policies and procedures improvements, bringing the department to be Yellowbook compliant.
Most recently, prior to becoming Deputy Comptroller, she served as the City’s Accounting Director, assuring the accuracy of the City’s financial statements, and implementing annually new Governmental Accounting Standards Board pronouncements.
In January of 2017, she was appointed Deputy Comptroller where she is responsible for eight (8) divisions within the Comptroller’s office and administrating all HR related activities.
Aycha Sawa, CPA has a proven track record and valuable experience. We invite you to join us in supporting and voting for Aycha Sawa. We can count on Aycha!
Alex Brower is a credit union leader, union president, and an educator. He has the experience, leadership, and values necessary to be our next city comptroller.
As a credit union leader, Alex has been involved in the credit union movement and cooperative business for over 13 years. As a union president, Alex revitalized his union and won healthcare benefits for substitute teachers after going on a hunger strike for 21 days. As an educator, Alex serves as a substitute teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools and has worked with many of Milwaukee’s communities.
Alex is no amateur when it comes to finance. Alex has the business expertise we need to ensure that our tax dollars are being used efficiently to serve the people of Milwaukee and not just big corporations. A political science graduate of Beloit College, Alex has used his political knowledge to fight for working people. Alex Brower’s experience, leadership and unwavering commitment to the people of Milwaukee and progressive values, make him the best choice for the City of Milwaukee’s next comptroller.
Grant F. Langley
Grant F. Langley was first elected City Attorney in 1984. Prior to his election, he served as an Assistant City Attorney for 13 years. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the Milwaukee Bar Association. He is the past president of the Government Lawyer’s Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and is a member of the Administrative & Local Government Law Section (Director 1985-1994; Chair 1991). He was a member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar from 2001-2008 and chaired the Board during its 2003-2004 term. He is also a member of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (State Chair 1990-1993; Regional Vice-President 1993-1995), and a past member of the District II Board of Attorneys Professional Responsibility Committee (Member 1987-1995; Chair 1995). He served on the Supreme Court Appointment Selection Committee between 2001 and 2003. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University Law School.
Vincent J. Bobot
Attorney Bobot has served Milwaukee’s legal system for over 40 years. His days walking the beat as an officer of the MPD, to his time on the bench as a judge, and his countless hours of serving the community give Attorney Bobot a unique perspective on the city of Milwaukee and a knowledge of the legal system that’s hard to beat.
Tearman Spencer has spent a career fighting for justice and making sure people are safe. He’s overcome personal adversity, achieving through hard work what doctors said wouldn’t be possible. Now he’s ready to stand up and fight for the people of Milwaukee.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Spencer earned an engineering degree from the University of Southern California and became an award-winning safety engineer, focusing on transportation infrastructure including dams, bridges, tunnels and rail systems, working all over the country. He ensured maintenance on refineries was done safely, and oversaw safety professionals on the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Spencer was then diagnosed with a degenerative condition that confined him to a wheelchair, and while striving to recover, earned a Masters in Business Administration from Golden Gate University. He later received a Juris Doctor (law degree) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Spencer returned to Milwaukee and opened a successful law practice, handling real estate and business cases, and protecting individuals against big banks. More recently, he has focused on defending the rights of consumers, and winning millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for his clients.
Spencer is committed to community leadership, including serving on the board of Community Brainstorming Conference and as a member of the Felmers Chaney Advisory Board. He also completed the FBI Citizens Academy and is active in the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.
Along the way, Spencer defied expectations and learned to walk again.
With more than 30 years of leadership experience, Spencer is ready to run the City Attorney’s office, a broad operation that oversees civil, criminal, and municipal law on behalf of the people of Milwaukee.
Brett is a community activist, experienced attorney, and devoted dad. He has spent his career fighting for the most marginalized in our community. Brett wants to continue his work in the community as a Judge in our Milwaukee County Circuit Court, where he will work to keep our community safe while continuing to fight for those most vulnerable.
Brett is the President & CEO of Cream City Foundation (CCF) in Milwaukee. He has over 15 years of experience in litigation, philanthropy, community organizing and nonprofit management. Before joining CCF, Brett served as the Director of Major Gifts for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), a Milwaukee based AIDS service organization.
Previously Brett served as an attorney with the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, where he represented low-income individuals that were charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes. Brett is a proud former member of AFT Local 4822, the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Association.
Prior to joining the Public Defender’s Office, Brett worked as a Legislative Aide for State Representative Jon Richards in the State Capitol, serving constituents from the City of Milwaukee. He got his start in politics working for leaders like Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Brett was born and raised on a farm and moved around the Midwest growing up. He attended Marquette University and went back to his home state to get his law degree from the University of Missouri.
Brett previously served as an elected Director for the Government Lawyer’s Division of the Wisconsin Bar Association. He currently serves as chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Milwaukee, having been appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett and unanimously confirmed by the Common Council.
Brett lives in the Lenox Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee’s west side. He is an active member of Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ softball league, SSBL-Milwaukee. His husband Chris works for UW-Madison and they have 2 children. The family is active with Miltown LGBT Families in Milwaukee.
Paul Dedinsky began serving as a judge for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court on January 6, 2019. Paul currently serves at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center, where he has presided over hundreds of children’s court cases.
Paul Dedinsky has over 25 years of legal experience. Paul began his legal career as a general private practitioner for over 3 and a half years, including service as a Defense Counsel in criminal matters. He then worked for over 20 years as an Assistant District Attorney in Milwaukee. In May of 2017, Paul accepted an opportunity to serve as Chief Legal Counsel to a Wisconsin state agency, DATCP (Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection).
Paul was born and raised in Milwaukee as the youngest of four children. His parents provided an excellent example of public service and community service. Paul is married to Lisa. The couple has three children.
I’m Zach Whitney and I’m asking for your vote to serve our community on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
I’m a person with strong values who strives for justice. Milwaukee is my home where my family and I love visiting our parks and attending a wide array of cultural offerings. I’m a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, where I live with my wife Madeline, and our two children Harvey and Frankie, both students at Milwaukee Public Schools.
I’ve been fighting for justice in the Milwaukee County Circuit Courts for over fifteen years. I spent eight years as a Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney, where I focused on prosecuting gun violence and domestic violence. I witnessed how violence tears families and neighborhoods apart. It was hard, emotional work, which shaped my commitment to justice. It is a public service of which I’m proud. It helped me understand that our judicial system can only work when both sides are represented equally and diligently.
Like others attempting to provide for their families, my time serving Milwaukee County was cut short by Act 10, which compelled me to leave public service. Since entering private practice, I’ve focused on commercial and business litigation. For the last seven years, I’ve been privileged to represent a wide variety of clients, including many small businesses. It’s been an honor to help “main street” navigate the complexities of our civil court system.
My background as a trial attorney is vast and my knowledge of our courts is deep. I’m running for Branch 5 of the Circuit Court because the people of Milwaukee County deserve to have my insight and progressive voice on the bench. Milwaukee County residents have the right to elect a member of our community, who has the experience, commitment to justice, and work ethic, to serve as our judge.
Joseph J. Czarnezki
Milele A. Coggs
Jose G. Perez
Russell W. Stamper, II