NEWaukeean of the Week

Rafael Garcia

"I am Milwaukee born and raised."

By - Apr 18th, 2016 01:13 pm
Rafael Garcia. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Rafael Garcia. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Where do you work and what makes your role awesomesauce?

I work for Community First as the Executive Director. Although it is a very demanding position, I love the opportunity to work with Milwaukee’s central city residents to improve their quality of life, starting with their home. I get the opportunity to meet so many passionate people that are as committed to improving our neighborhoods as I am. I do have an absolutely wonderful job!

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?

I am Milwaukee born and raised. My father was born in Puerto Rico and moved with my grandparents to Brooklyn when he was nine. Two years later (1958), they moved to Milwaukee and this is where we call home ever since.

What is something that is missing from our community that you would love to see implemented?

One thing that is missing from our community seems to be substantial, effective job training programs that create a lifelong, family-supportive wage positions. Sure we hire from the community when there are public dollars involved, but I would like to see more companies taking the Milwaukee neighborhood hires with them when the job is completed.

What local restaurant is at the top of your list?

  • Ashley’s BBQ (Not Ashley Q, same owner but definitely different food quality) located at 1501 W. Center St. is the best BBQ in town HANDS DOWN!
  • Guanajuato’s in bay-view is one of the best Mexican spots. And cheap. I’m all about good and cheap food! 2317 S. Howell Ave.
  • Transfer Pizza

What is your biggest hope for this city?

My biggest hope for this city is leadership.

What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?

Brewers games with the family!

What does your ideal Milwaukee weekend look like?

My ideal weekend in Milwaukee is a beautiful summer day, maybe a BBQ in Washington Park or another park with a pool since my kids love the pool. Spending time with my family and friends in the backyard, conversations over good food and drink. Family is #1 to me so we usually do everything together.

What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?

I live in Miller Valley (35th and Kilbourn) and have been there since 2008. I lived in Riverwest since the late 1990’s (before it was cool) and raised my youngest kids there.

I love Miller Valley for several reasons including:

  • The proximity to downtown
  • The proximity to the freeway
  • The fact that I can do work for people in the neighborhood
  • The iconic brands less than three blocks from my home (Miller, Harley Davidson, Miller Park)

What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about the city?

Mom and pop restaurants. Milwaukee has been blessed with so many new restaurants that are independently owned, I can honestly say I do not remember the last time I was at a chain restaurant. This has not always been the case here in Milwaukee.

What do you think is going to be a game changer for the city in the year of 2016?

The Near West Side Partners (NWSP)

2 thoughts on “NEWaukeean of the Week: Rafael Garcia”

  1. Jerry says:

    One of my favorite ‘Neuwakeean of the Week’ reads.

  2. Johanna says:

    Congrats on the article Rafael!

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