Jeramey Jannene

Rep. Brostoff Will Run For Aldermanic Seat

Jonathan Brostoff will seek seat being vacated by Nik Kovac and won't run for re-election to State Assembly.

By - Apr 19th, 2022 12:31 pm
State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) at a press conference on restoring public school funding and phasing out the state voucher program. Photo courtesy of Rep. Brostoff’s office.

State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) at a press conference on restoring public school funding and phasing out the state voucher program. File photo courtesy of Rep. Brostoff’s office.

There is at least one person running to replace outgoing Alderman Nik Kovac.

State Representative Jonathan Brostoff declared he will run in a special election to serve the remainder of Kovac’s term through April 2024. He’s also not running for re-election for his assembly seat.

“I’ve lived in this community nearly my whole life and I am thrilled to continue to give back to the community that’s given me so much,” said Brostoff in a statement. “My grassroots campaign is focused on being a voice for Milwaukee and giving residents the care and attention that they deserve — stellar constituent services, ensuring that everyone within the district is heard, supporting community programs that have been proven to improve public safety, and continuing my work on disability rights and access at the municipal level.”

Tuesday morning Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced that he was appointing Kovac to serve as the city budget director, which will require the alderman to resign his elected post. Insiders who spoke with Urban Milwaukee in recent weeks indicated the appointment was coming.

The special election has yet to be called, nor has Kovac formally resigned. But the expectation is that the election will be held with the dates coinciding with the regularly scheduled fall election in August and November.

The third council district, represented by Kovac since 2008, includes the city’s East Side, most of Riverwest and the northern edge of Downtown.

“District residents tell me they’re looking for someone who will work collaboratively to find solutions to our challenges. I’m ready to be that voice on the Common Council,” Brostoff said.

When the seat was last open in 2008 it drew eight candidates, but that came as part of a normally scheduled spring election.

Artist and activist Eric Rorholm told Urban Milwaukee he is exploring his options on getting into the race. Rorholm lost, 59% to 41%, to incumbent county supervisor Sheldon Wasserman earlier this month. He was backed by the Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America in the nonpartisan race.

Brostoff’s aldermanic announcement comes with another twist for a Milwaukee political scene in a state of change: he’s not running for re-election to his 19th assembly district seat. The district includes the East Side, Downtown, Historic Third Ward, easternmost edge of Riverwest and most of Bay View.

Brostoff, 38, has at least three incentives to look for a job at Milwaukee City Hall instead of the Wisconsin State Capitol: a raise, a shorter commute and fewer elections. Base pay for the assembly is currently $50,950 per year, with the council paying $73,222. Council members are elected to a four-year term, while assembly representatives face a two-year election cycle.

A state representative since 2014, Brostoff and his fellow Democrats have been in the minority for more than a decade. The aldermanic post is non-partisan.

Brostoff’s best-known accomplishment as a legislator involved a highly-visible stunt. The Democrat had pledged to the disability rights community that he wouldn’t get his hair cut until a bill he sponsored, designed to increase the availability of American Sign Language interpreters, passed. He went from February 2018 to July 2019 without a haircut, while his normally closen-shaven style became an afro-like growth.

Prior to winning a four-way Democratic primary to serve as a representative, Brostoff served as an aide to State Senator Chris Larson and County Supervisor Jason Haas as well as interning for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). He has been a regular volunteer at Pathfinders, a youth shelter, and Dry Hootch, a veteran-focused cafe and nonprofit. He is an alumnus of the Public Allies leadership training program and has worked on numerous political campaigns. He previously served as a board member for the ACLU Wisconsin and America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Brostoff holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from UW-Milwaukee.

Brostoff lives on the East Side with his wife Diana Vang Brostoff, a social worker at the VA, and their three children.

Disclosure: Jeramey Jannene developed the website used for Brostoff’s original assembly run.

Categories: City Hall, Politics, Weekly

One thought on “Rep. Brostoff Will Run For Aldermanic Seat”

  1. says:

    Sad for the state, good for the city. Jonathan Brostoff, thank you.

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