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Acting Milwaukee Mayor Johnson declares public safety crisis over reckless driving and gun violence

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson (left) is sworn in by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Carolina Stark (right).
Chuck Quirmbach
Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson (left) is sworn in by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Carolina Stark (right).

Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson took his oath of office Thursday, and as his first official act, he declared a Public Safety Crisis in the city, due to reckless driving and gun violence.

The swearing in ceremony took place inside Bay View High School, Johnson's alma mater.

During his remarks to the invited audience, Johnson promised that "every department, every office, led by the Mayor's office will prioritize addressing the scourge of reckless driving and the rising gun violence that plagues our neighborhoods."

Earlier this week, Johnson unveiled a plan called STAND for Safer Streets, that he hopes will combat speeding and other reckless behavior on the roadways that has caused numerous fatal accidents and injuries.

Johnson says in coming weeks, he'll lay out a plan for addressing gun violence, promising to work with Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman. This year, for the second year in a row, Milwaukee has set a new record for homicides. Most of those deaths are due to people being shot.

Johnson is Black. He becomes the second non-white person to hold the city's top post.

Johnson remains Common Council President, but will not be able to vote. He replaces Tom Barrett as Mayor. Barrett was sworn in Thursday as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.

Also, during a flurry of action in city government, on Thursday the Milwaukee Common Council scheduled the primary in the special election to fill out the remaining two years of Barrett's mayoral term, for February 15, and set the general election for April 5.

Johnson promises to be a candidate in the mayoral contest. So do at least six other people.

Outside Bay View High School, Johnson's supporters were asking for nomination paper signatures, to get his name on the February ballot.

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