Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Zepnick Enters Race To Replace Borkowski

Three candidates now seeking to replace outgoing alderman.

By - Aug 31st, 2023 05:35 pm
Josh Zepnick. Wisconsin Blue Book photo.

Josh Zepnick. Wisconsin Blue Book photo.

Former state representative Josh Zepnick is entering the race to replace retiring Alderman Mark Borkowski.

“Our city is at a fiscal crossroads. I pledge to focus on key, core services that are important to individuals and families living in District 11. Keeping an eye out for wasteful spending, outdated or ineffective government programs, and looking for ways to grow our economy stronger will always be my priority at City Hall as your next alderman,” said Zepnick in announcing his campaign. “District 11 on Milwaukee’s South Side is home to friendly neighborhoods, great parks and schools, and a diverse, ethnic population that I am proud to be a part of.”

Borkowski, 65, announced on Tuesday he wouldn’t run for reelection next spring. The outgoing alderman has held elected office since 1992 and the 11th District aldermanic seat since 2015.

The alderman’s statement was immediately followed by one from county supervisor and 2020 aldermanic opponent Peter Burgelis, who announced his intention to enter the race. Lee Whiting, a member of the city’s Safety and Civic Commission, had filed to run before Borkowski’s announcement.

Zepnick served in the Wisconsin State Assembly as a Democrat from 2003 to 2019. He was upset in a 2018 primary by Marisabel Cabrera. Council seats are nonpartisan.

“Milwaukee cannot grow economically unless and until we get a better handle on violent crime, broken roads and digging out of the current pension fund crisis,” said Zepnick, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood. He said his top priorities are addressing gun violence and reckless driving, while he is also interested in fixing streets, lowering property taxes and enacting responsible government spending.

A press release announcing his aldermanic candidacy cities his work with the city, as a legislator, to make pedestrian improvements at S. 43rd St. and W. Forest Home Ave. Zepnick was also a leader on the state law that is now being used by the city to tow and impound unregistered vehicles used for reckless driving.

While serving as a state representative in 2016, Zepnick ran in a spring election to oust Robert Donovan, but finished third. He ran in a 2019 special election to replace Terry Witkowski. The veteran politician finished sixth in a seven-way primary that Scott Spiker, Witkowski’s aide, resoundingly won after filing to run before Witkowski resigned.

Zepnick lost by 17 votes to Juan Miguel Martinez in a spring 2022 race for an open seat on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

The former representative is a graduate of Milwaukee Public SchoolsRufus King High School, and holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison and a master’s degree in state and local government from the University of Minnesota.

The voting age population of the 11th District, which encompasses the city’s southwest side, is 65.6% white, 5.6% Black, 4.54% Asian and 21.5% Hispanic. It was 77.9% white following the 2010 census, but has seen its demographics change following the end of the city’s residency requirement.

A primary, if three or more candidates qualify for the ballot, will be held in February to narrow the field to two. The general election will be held in April.

All 15 council seats will be on the ballot in April 2024. Council members are paid $73,222 per year and elected to four-year terms.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Categories: City Hall, Politics

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us