Who are the Wisconsin Election candidates running for Milwaukee Common Council?
What does an alderperson on the Milwaukee Common Council do?
There are 15 aldermanic districts in the city of Milwaukee. One alderperson from each district is elected to a four-year term by the residents and make up the lawmaking body of the City of Milwaukee known as the Common Council.
The council exercises all policy-making and legislative powers of the city, including the adoption of ordinances and resolutions, the approval of the city's annual budget, and the enactment of appropriation and tax levy ordinances. The council also has approval over the mayor's appointments of cabinet heads to direct day-to-day operations of city departments. In addition to their powers as legislators, council members serve as district administrators and are responsible to the citizens in their districts for city services.
The president of the Common Council is elected by council members at the beginning of the council’s term and serves for four years. The president makes all appointments to the council’s seven standing committees as well as many special committees and presides over all meetings of the full council. He or she becomes acting mayor when the mayor is out of the city.
What’s at stake?
One of the biggest issues facing the Milwaukee Common Council has to do with the impending fiscal crisis, which could produce a $100 million hole in the city budget in 2025 once federal pandemic relief funds are exhausted.
Another issue concerns the Milwaukee Police Department — staffing levels, paying for police and how to improve police-community relations.
The council may also be looking at efforts to decrease violent crime, reckless driving and car thefts.
Where are the districts?
Who are the candidates?
Biography: David Bowen is a former Democratic state representative born and raised on Milwaukee’s north side. He was elected to the Assembly in 2014 and completed his fourth and final term in January 2023. Before that, Bowen served on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors for the 10th District. Bowen touts his experience building bipartisanship and consensus in a divided political climate. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Bowen lives in the Rufus King neighborhood.
Why is he running: Bowen says he feels called to use his decade of experience at the state and county level to serve the city as it faces critical challenges.
Issues he’s focused on: Community safety and reckless driving, fiscal crisis, equitable economic opportunities and housing.
Biography: A lifelong resident of the 1st District, Andrea Pratt is a long-time public servant. Currently, she serves the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion as an equal rights specialist. Before that, she worked for the Common Council — serving the 1st District — and Milwaukee Public Schools. Pratt says her 25-year-long career has equipped her with connections and a deep understanding of city politics. The mother of four daughters, Pratt lives in the Rufus King neighborhood.
Why is she running: Pratt says her candidacy is a natural extension of her public service as a way of life. As a child, she watched her father, Marvin Pratt, serve as District 1 alderman on the Common Council, and later, as acting mayor — the first African American in that position. Her mother worked for the Milwaukee Public Library and her grandmother worked for the post office. Pratt says she is running to serve the 1st District at a critical moment for the city.
Issues she’s focused on: Public safety; reckless driving; fiscal crisis; illegal dumping; economic development; and improved city services, including streetlights and potholes.
Biography: Annette Jackson has been a Milwaukee resident and business owner for over 20 years. She does not have a background in politics but thinks that’s a good thing and is glad to be going into it fresh. She’s an employee of the City of Milwaukee — having worked in the licensing department, the water department and the Department of Neighborhood Services. She’s a mother of two and grandmother of twelve.
Why is she running: Jackson says being in city service, she knows first-hand the issues people are facing in the city and the complaints they have about what’s going on in their communities. That coupled with her work on council committees, Jackson feels her experience would help bring solutions to the council and the 5th district.
Issues she’s focused on: Trash/dumping in the area, reckless driving, youth outreach, strengthening community ties and resource availability.
Biography: Lamont Westmoreland was born and raised in Milwaukee and has lived in the 5th district for more than 10 years. Westmoreland does not have a political background, but instead comes from finance and nonprofit. He's also a small business owner. Westmoreland is married with two children.
Why is he running: Westmoreland wants to make sure the people have someone in office that has a heart for the people, passion for the community and a vision for change. He feels like a lot of local government positions, like alderperson, use the position as a steppingstone to higher-paying government jobs. His highest aspiration is 5th district alder because that’s where he feels like he could have the most impact.
Issues he’s focused on: Transparency from government officials, traffic/road infrastructure, reckless driving, youth outreach and resource availability.
Biography: Odell Ball is a father and husband, married to Milwaukee’s County Sheriff Denita Ball. He had taught in Milwaukee Public Schools for 26 years and taught at Marquette University for five. Ball retired six years ago. Ball served as the chairman of the board of two nonprofit organizations — the Milwaukee Police Athletic League and FIT-CLUB MKE, which promotes positive youth development.
Why he is running: Ball is seeking to bring business to the historic Granville area by establishing new family sustaining jobs and curtailing the rise in crime, which include reckless driving.
Issues he’s focused on: Economic development, environmental waste and crime.
Biography: Larressa Taylor taught at Milwaukee Public Schools for 17 years, is a veteran and a mother. She’s an active member in District 9’s block watch and says she has a deep passion for service. For the last four years, she has been a lead representative for Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, which represents Milwaukee Public School teachers.
Why she is running: Taylor is looking to strengthen her community by connecting with residents and putting boots on the ground in District 9.
Issues she’s focusing on: Affordable housing, employment, public health and economic development.
Need help learning how to vote on April 4? Our voter guide has the information you need on the voting process and how to participate.