Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Jon Richards Will Run for Attorney General

Like Abe Lincoln, Richards has been practicing law all across the state in preparation for his run.

By - Oct 16th, 2013 05:51 pm
State Representative Jon Richards

State Representative Jon Richards

Milwaukee Assemblyman Jon Richards (D-19) announced today, Wednesday, October 16th that he will run for the office of Attorney General being vacated by Republican J. B. Van Hollen.

By doing so he will forfeit the seat he has held in the legislature since 1998 representing the City of Milwaukee’s East Side, Downtown and Bay View neighborhoods. This is a rock-solid Democrat district, so don’t be surprised if his exit from the assembly attracts a flock of candidates in the Democratic primary eager to replace him. Partisan primaries will be held August 12th, 2014 with the general election to follow on November 4th, 2014.

Richards lives in the Brady Street neighborhood, where he serves on the board of Directors of the Brady Street Area Association. His wife is Andrea Rowe Richards, a former communications manager of the Milwaukee Department of City Development, who left that job to take care of their young son, Alex. She staffs the meetings of the  Architectural Review Board of the East Side Business Improvement District #20. [See Dave Reid’s story on yesterday’s ARB meeting here.]

Richards has had more-than-local political visibility as a former legislative leader and as a current member of the Joint Committee on Finance. In the past he has taught English in Mexico, volunteered with Mother Theresa, and served as a Special Prosecutor in Kenosha County.  He has a sailboat that he moors in the Kinnickinnic River.

Richards will likely run as a champion of women’s reproductive rights who would be a bulwark against Republican attempts to pass any restrictions. He has the strong support of the reproductive rights lobby, and has received an award from Planned Parenthood.

As Attorney General,  Democrat Jim Doyle played much the same role as a counterbalance to Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, and he later became governor.

Jonathan David Richards [UW Law ‘94] was born in Waukesha in 1963 and operates Richards Law Office out of space at 2266 N Prospect Ave., within the East Side BID district, and the one he represents in the legislature.

His practice is largely divided between traffic and probate cases. From 1995 until 2009, all of Richards’ court cases took place in Waukesha or Milwaukee counties. But since the arrival of young Alex, Dad has gotten much busier: since September, 2010, Richards has had court activity in Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Outagamie, Dunn, Fond du Lac, Racine, Walworth, Burnett, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Dodge, Brown and Waukesha counties.

This sort of legal circuit riding did wonders for the political career of Abraham Lincoln, and certainly has helped introduce Richards to folks along the way. So he might have been thinking of a statewide move for quite some time. His service — and leadership — in the Assembly certainly has brought Richards into contact with party officials around the state, which should help him to assemble a statewide campaign team.

In September, Richards was at a fundraiser for Sheriff candidate Chris Moews [see Urban Milwaukee story here] and at the campaign announcement party for judicial candidate Laura Gramling Perez [story], where he spent a considerable amount of time on one-on-one conversations with political insiders. Both the Moews and Perez campaigns are run by Jason Rae and Sachin Chheda of Nation Consulting LLC, as is the Richards for Attorney General campaign.

But as lawyer or attorney general, it is essential to pay attention to the little details.

Take for example, this letter sent to Richards by the Deputy Register in Probate of Sheboygan County yesterday, October 15th, regarding the estate of Thomas M. Kearney, Deceased: “Special administration letters requested in e-mail sent September 17, 2013 probate have not been filed as required per order signed and filed August 5, 2013 – file Form PR-1853, special adm. letters by October 28, 2013 or will refer to judge, etc.”

Well it certainly wouldn’t do to have an Attorney-Representative to the Assembly-Attorney General candidate referred to “judge, etc.,” for failing to “evidence authority of special administrator to act on behalf of an estate,” would it?

So as a public service to Jon Richards as he hits the campaign trail, Urban Milwaukee is happy to provide a link to the needed Form PR-1853. Fill it out, sir, and you can sail it up to the Sheboygan County Courthouse by sunrise.

Bike Trail Extended

Kristen Bennet, Ald. Jose Perez, Mayor Tom Barret, and Ald. Tony Zielinski with help from some children cut the ribbon. Photo by Rose Balistreri.

Kristen Bennet, Ald. Jose Perez, Mayor Tom Barret, and Ald. Tony Zielinski with help from some children cut the ribbon. Photo by Rose Balistreri.

Milwaukee’s bicycle trail system got a couple more disjointed segments Saturday, October 12th, with the opening of the Kinnickinnic River Trail. [See Urban Milwaukee Bike Czar story here.] The bike path has had a few hiccups along the way, and signage is rudimentary — no more than a notice that motor vehicles are not welcomed here. It begins on E. Washington St. at the north, and parallels active railway tracks south to E. Maple St. where it takes a pause, leaving bicyclists to their own devices and the terrors of the road until it appears again, quite unannounced, just the tiniest bit east of S. 1st St. at E. Lincoln Ave. From there it is smooth sailing, particularly where it crosses over S Chase Ave. and under the dreaded bulk of the North South Freeway.

It is in that sheltered location that festivities were held dedicating the trail on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Tom Barrett was there, emphasizing his “steady-as-it-goes” approach to civic improvements. During his tenure (it will be 10 years in April) the mayor has faced austere finances, exacerbated by punitive measures from the legislature that have made it difficult to embrace large projects of the sort that Chicago mayors can implement overnight. The mayor must also contend with a huge backlog of abandoned buildings, whether industrial, commercial or residential.

He has made a virtue of necessity by rebuilding crumbling bridges, replacing inefficient libraries with successful mixed-use developments, returning the Menomonee Valley to productive industrial use and providing infrastructure support for catalytic development projects like the upcoming NML tower downtown.

“A little bit here and a little bit there” does add up eventually.

Attendees at the event included Ald. Jose Perez and his colleague Ald. Tony Zielinski, both former House Confidential honorees. [Click their names for their stories.] They were joined by Rep. Josh Zepnick and Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa who said that she is moving to a new home in her district. (People will do anything to become a House Confidential honoree, and this is a good start) Laura Gramling Perez was also there, promoting her candidacy for judge. [See Urban Milwaukee photo gallery of event here.]

Sandra Rusch Walton of the Department of Public Works was there to take care of some of the business matters involved in a ribbon cutting. She is custodian of both the ever-diminishing spool of ribbon and the giant Silver Scissors, a mechanical cousin of the Golden Shovels she employs in groundbreakings, of which there has also been a slow but steady flow during the Barrett administration.

“These actually belong to the Forestry Division,” she said, referring to the cutting device, nestled in its protective case, also silver. “But I get to keep them in my office, since I do so many groundbreakings.”

Scene on the Street: Rod Stewart Performs Here for Ted Kellner, Sage Breaks Ground and More

Want to make something festive on a drizzly day? Just add a tent and the colorful Sage on Jackson construction crew. Photo by Michael Horne.

Want to make something festive on a drizzly day? Just add a tent and the colorful Sage on Jackson construction crew. Photo by Michael Horne.

Rod Stewart was in town Saturday, October 12th, 2013 as a performer for the surprise birthday party for Ted and Mary Kellner, held at the Milwaukee Theater. Greater Milwaukee Committee head Julia Taylor [a House Confidential honoree] was there and posted a photo to Flickr. …

Handmade sign by Joe Glorioso. Photo by Michael Horne.

Handmade sign by Joe Glorioso. Photo by Michael Horne.

There was a groundbreaking Tuesday, October 15th, for Sage on Jackson, 1509 N. Jackson St. The streetside event was a drizzly one, but added a touch of life to a rediscovered street. … Just up the street at 1530 N. Jackson St., East Terrace Apartments is landscaped and accepting applications for a November 1st move-in date. …  At 1601 N. Jackson St. the Avante Apartments are being occupied. Unfortunately the building’s above-grade fluorescent-lit indoor parking garage, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, casts a terrible glare on ordinarily pleasant E. Pleasant St. Perhaps some diners at Sanford, or somebody trying to catch some sleep in a bedroom across the street might convince the developers to tone down the wattage, or at least install indirect lighting, as in the adjacent weight room. … After some quick masonry work on a very old structure, the former Dentice Sausage building across the street at 1600 N. Jackson St is nicely painted. The interior will take some doing.  … Since we’ve made it this far, might as well stroll down the hill to 1634 N. Water St. where Dan Fitzgibbons has finally opened up “Curve,” so named because that is what Water street does there where it climbs the hill. The place has had a million past lives, including a Butch’s steak house, and was most recently O’Brady’s. Well, now it is a real Irish bar, and it is instructive to see what it took to get it back on the active list. (This is an ancient building.) The floor is no longer creaky, and is black by design and not foot traffic. The pool table was still on its side in the not-finished billiard room that immediately adjoins the main tavern area. Fortunately for the historic minded, the men’s room still has its original walk-in urinal. … On a more elevated note, the October, 2013 Architectural Digest features an item called “Lake Effect,” about the high rise condo of former House Confidential honoree Mark Attanasio.  … Joe Glorioso, who opened his market on E. Brady St. in 1946 died Tuesday at 91. He was active toward the very end, creating signs for the store by the dozens in his firm, artistic hand. We shall not see his like again.

5 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Jon Richards Will Run for Attorney General”

  1. Andy Smith says:

    The target audience for this article is NOT the liberals, nor even the Democrats among us. No, the target audience are those whose natural inclination would be to vote for the Republican candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General in the fall elections of 2014. Beware, conservatives, Republicans, Catholics when sophisticated propagandists conjure up your most admired people– like Abe Lincoln and Mother Theresa– to lead you to the farcical conclusion that a liberal Democrat who wants a lot of power is ALSO a man you ought to admire . . . and support . . . and vote for. Don’t you resent it when people think you’re THAT stupid, that you’d fall for such B.S.? See through the smoke . . . see through the propaganda . . . don’t allow yourself to be led around by your nose so easily.

  2. Casey says:

    RE: KK Bike trail
    “parallels active railway tracks south to E. Maple St. where it takes a pause, leaving bicyclists to their own devices and the terrors of the road”

    WOW great way to show how safe urban cycling really is……what wretched writing. Where’s the bike czar when we need him?

  3. John G. says:

    I am absolutely loving this Andy Smith guy!

  4. Scottie says:

    Our state Democrats will be much more formidable in an AG general election if Matt Frank is the candidate. He has a long track record as trial lawyer in the AG’s office and he did solid work as the Dept. of Corrections Secretary. He prosecuted many dangerous criminals over his first two decades as an AAG.

    Michael, you are usually an independent journalist in your writing. However, this article is a “wet kiss” for Jon and really doesn’t critique his scant courtroom experience. He is going to be tough on crime when he has never prosecuted a felony case or had a jury trial? The comparison to Abe Lincoln is really over the top. So, Jon goes to a few counties to cover traffic tickets for clients and he becomes Old Abe traveling the circuit. Ask any lawyer, those traffic cases are usually settled by phone or written stipulation. The lawyer doesn’t even have to get in the car to travel to these other counties……. or get in his horse and buggy like Old Abe.

    Next time that you interview Jon, ask him about his jury trial experience ……. (crickets).

  5. Jerad says:

    Andy, can I get some of whatever you’re smoking?

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