Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Three Highly-Competitive Aldermanic Races On April Ballot

Pratt vs Bowen, Westmoreland vs Jackson and Ball vs Taylor.

By - Feb 21st, 2023 10:50 pm
Clockwise from top left - Andrea Pratt, Lamont Westmoreland, Odell Ball, Laressa Taylor, Annette Jackson and David Bowen. Photos from the candidates.

Clockwise from top left – Andrea Pratt, Lamont Westmoreland, Odell Ball, Laressa Taylor, Annette Jackson and David Bowen. Photos from the candidates.

Who will fill the three vacant Milwaukee Common Council seats?

Based on Tuesday’s election results, we’re only slightly closer to knowing.

Yes, the 20-candidate field was narrowed to six. But none of the advancing candidates secured more than 34% of the vote in their respective primaries.

All three races will appear on the April 4 spring election ballot alongside a high-profile Wisconsin Supreme Court race and a handful of other local races.

Given the expected increase in turnout, and the fact that none of the candidates had more than 50% of the vote, all three council races appear destined to be highly competitive.

The job pays $73,222 annually, with council members serving as the legislative representative for approximately 40,000 district residents at City Hall.

The 15 council members deal with everything from constituent issues with garbage pickup to crafting a $1.7 billion budget. The special elections are each for the remainder of the current term, which runs through April 2024. Next year elections will be held for all 15 seats to new four-year terms.

1st District

It’s Andrea Pratt (34%) versus David Bowen (33%) in the 1st District. The seat, which covers the far northeastern portion of the city, is open following the August resignation of longtime incumbent Ashanti Hamilton. The former alderman took an administration job as the head of the Office of Violence Prevention.

Pratt, a longtime Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) coordinator made the jump to serve as Hamilton’s aide in 2019 and last year moved to the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. Her last name carries cachet in local politics. Pratt’s father is former council member and acting mayor Marvin Pratt.

Bowen is a former member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and the Wisconsin State Assembly. After announcing he would run for lieutenant governor, Bowen ultimately pulled out of that race and also didn’t run for reelection to the assembly seat he had held since 2015. Zandra Bailey (17%) finished third in the five-way race.

5th District

Voters in the 5th District will get to choose between Lamont Westmoreland (29%) and Annette Jackson (18%). The seat, which covers the lower portion of the city’s large Northwest Side, is open following the November resignation of Nikiya Dodd. She took a private-sector job with a charter school.

Westmoreland worked primarily in banking before launching a painting business in January 2020. He’s also no stranger to getting yelled at, having served as a high school basketball referee for the last 13 years. Westmoreland describes himself as potentially the world’s biggest Milwaukee Bucks fan.

Jackson reports holding degrees in business and childhood education. She has worked for three city departments, including the Milwaukee Water Works, City Clerk‘s Office and Licenses Division. She reports having 12 grandchildren in the area, which she said motivates her to focus on safety initiatives. In a seven-way race, Jackson narrowly beat out retired assistant police chief Ray Banks (16%) to advance to the general election.

9th District

In the 9th District, which encompasses the city’s far northwestern limits, voters will get to choose between Odell Ball (24%) and Larresa Taylor (21%). The seat has been vacant since July when Chantia Lewis was removed for felony misconduct in office.

Ball, at 6 feet 9 inches tall, would be the tallest council member if elected. He used that height on the basketball court which included playing for Rufus King High School and Marquette University and being drafted by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets in 1979. An eye injury derailed his career and he spent more than 30 years in education, including at MPS and Marquette. His wife, Denita Ball, was elected Milwaukee County Sheriff last year.

Taylor is a self-described mother of three, military veteran and community advocate. She reports being a MPS teacher for the past 17 years, the last four of which have also included a role with the teacher’s union. In an eight-way race, Taylor finished a couple percentage points ahead of third-place finisher Amber Danyus (18%).

Results for each race are available in our election results article.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

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