Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

New Council Most Diverse In Milwaukee History

The largest number of Black, women and LBGTQ+ members in history. Meet all 15.

By - Apr 15th, 2024 05:59 pm
The 2024-2028 Milwaukee Common Council.

The 2024-2028 Milwaukee Common Council. Photos provided by candidates or Milwaukee City Clerk. Moore photo by Kalida Williams Photography.

The Milwaukee Common Council will formally kick off its 2024-2028 term on Tuesday. And when it does, it will be a record-breaking group.

For the first time in city history, the majority of the Common Council members are African American. Eight of the 15 members are Black, eclipsing the high of seven. And a record-breaking six of the members are women, eclipsing the high of five set last session. Two of the members are also openly part of the LBGTQ+ community, which saw no public council representation until 2020.

The council makeup represents the continued evolution of an increasingly diverse city. Of the 577,000 residents of Milwaukee, as of the 2020 census, 37.8% identify as Black, 32.3% identify as white, 20.1% Hispanic or Latino, 5.2% Asian and 0.6% Native American.

Council members are elected to four-year terms and paid $84,205 annually. A nonpartisan office, council members are responsible for everything from fielding constituent concerns about garbage pickup to setting the city budget. No council in recent memory has completed its term with all of the initial members still serving, but the 2020-2024 group saw higher-than-usual turnover due to the elevation of council president Cavalier Johnson to mayor after Tom Barrett‘s resignation.

District 1 – Andrea Pratt

Pratt was first elected in an April 2023 special election to replace longtime alderman Ashanti Hamilton, whom she briefly served as an aide. She defeated former state representative David Bowen by 17 votes. She ran unopposed in the 2024 cycle, winning her first full term. Pratt lives in the Rufus King neighborhood with her family.

District 2 – Mark Chambers, Jr.

Mark Chambers, Jr. was first elected in a November 2022 special election to replace Cavalier Johnson, who formally vacated his council seat after being elected mayor. Chambers ran unopposed in the 2024 election for his first full term on the council. He has a background in business consulting and has quickly become a very active and outspoken participant in council meetings.

District 3 – Jonathan Brostoff

Jonathan Brostoff was first elected to the Common Council in a November 2022 special election to replace Nik Kovac, who was appointed budget director. He defeated challenger Ieshuh Griffin in the spring 2024 election for his first full term. Brostoff previously served as a Democrat in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2015 until his council election. He lives on the East Side with his family.

District 4 – Robert Bauman

Robert Bauman is the longest-tenured Common Council member. He was first elected in 2004 after prior bids for the seat and has been reelected five times since. An attorney with an interest in transportation and public works, he is the longtime chair of the Public Works Committee. Bauman is also the council’s longtime appointee to the Historic Preservation Commission. He lives in the Concordia neighborhood.

District 5 – Lamont Westmoreland

Lamont Westmoreland will begin his first full term on the Common Council after beating challenger Bruce Winter for a second time. Westmoreland won a special election in 2023 to replace Nikiya Dodd, who resigned for a private sector job. While serving the remainder of Dodd’s term, Westmoreland carved out a niche advocating for ways to address reckless driving. In addition to his work on the council, Westmoreland is a longtime high school basketball referee. He resides with his family in the St. Amelian’s neighborhood.

District 6 – Milele A. Coggs

Milele A. Coggs, a nonpracticing attorney, was first elected in 2008 and is now the second-longest tenured council member. She defeated incumbent Michael McGee Jr., who ran while incarcerated. Despite each race being contested, Coggs was reelected with at least 63% of the vote in the four subsequent elections. She most recently earned 75% of the vote against challenger Brandon Payton. The alderwoman has led the Licenses Committee for several years and also previously chaired the Finance & Personnel Committee. Coggs narrowly lost her bid for council president in 2020 and is vying again for the post in 2024. She resides in Harambee with her family.

District 7 – DiAndre Jackson

DiAndre Jackson won a highly-competitive four-way race to replace Khalif Rainey, who didn’t run for reelection after two full terms as alderman for a district that includes the north-central area of the city. Jackson is a former Master Lock employee and was active with the company’s UAW-affiliated union until the plant began its closure last year, a move he said inspired him to run for office. The new alderman introduced then-president Barack Obama when he visited the facility in 2012. He enters office with potential momentum at the Century City area of his district, as two new buildings are proposed and a $50 million federal grant looms. Jackson resides in the Roosevelt Grove neighborhood and also owns a home in the Amani neighborhood, just outside of the district.

District 8 –  JoCasta Zamarripa

JoCasta Zamarripa was elected to her second full term on the Common Council after defeating challenger Ryan Antczak by 63%-36%. First elected in 2020 by 92 votes over Justin Bielinski in a race to replace Robert Donovan, Zamarripa made the jump to the council after spending nine years in the Wisconsin State Legislature as a Democrat. Her election to the council marked the first election of a Latina and an openly LGBTQ+ member. Zamarripa resides in the Forest Home Hills neighborhood.

District 9 – Larresa Taylor

Voters gave Larresa Taylor her first full term on the council earlier this month. A former Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, she won a contested special election in 2023 to replace Chantia Lewis, who was removed from office for campaign finance violations. Taylor did not face a challenger in 2024. She begins her first full term on the council with one key issue for her district looming: the future of the Northridge Mall property. The city finally secured control of the property, but now must decide what replaces it. She lives in the Calumet Farms neighborhood on the city’s far Northwest Side.

District 10 – Sharlen Moore

Sharlen Moore enters office after having won an open race to replace three-decade incumbent Michael Murphy. Moore handily defeated frequent office seeker Richard Geldon by 72% to 28%. She enters office with at least one hot issue in the district awaiting her: a vulgar fight over a new historic district on W. Wisconsin Avenue. Like her own residence, the homes are part of a cluster that was redistricted from the Downtown-led 4th District to the westside-centric 10th District. Moore has long served as the executive director of the youth-focused nonprofit Urban Underground, which she cofounded two decades ago with her husband Reggie Moore. She residents in the Merrill Park neighborhood with her family.

District 11 – Peter Burgelis

Peter Burgelis now holds the seat he has spent several years seeking. Burgelis replaces outgoing alderman Mark Borkowski, who he challenged unsuccessfully in 2020. In the interim, he won a seat on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and maintained his full-time job in finance for U.S. Bank. His election represents a potential political swing in council dynamics, with the more liberal Burgelis replacing the council’s most conservative member. The impact of such a swing remains unclear, with the nonpartisan council more often dealing with basic local governance issues rather than partisan national politics. Burgelis resides in the Jackson Park neighborhood.

District 12 – José G. Pérez

José G. Pérez was first elected in 2012, defeating incumbent Jim Witkowiak by 86 votes to represent a Hispanic-majority, southside seat. He has been reelected three times since, including defeating one-term officeholder Angel C. Sanchez by 70% to 30% in 2016, the only time he faced a challenger. After then-council president Cavalier Johnson became acting mayor after Barrett’s resignation, Pérez was elected council president by his peers. He faces a challenge from Coggs to keep the role for the next term. Pérez previously worked for the Department of City Development and as a nonprofit executive. He lives in the Lincoln Village neighborhood with his family.

District 13 – Scott Spiker

Scott Spiker won a seven-way special election in 2019 to replace retiring alderman Terry Witkowski, whom he served as an aide. Spiker defeated fellow council aide Patty Doherty in the general election and again in 2020 for the seat representing the far southside Garden District. He was reelected in 2024 without opposition. Last summer he became chair of the Public Safety & Health Committee. Spiker resides in the Wilson Park neighborhood with his family.

District 14 – Marina Dimitrijevic

Marina Dimitrijevic was first elected to the Common Council in 2020, making the jump from the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors where she served as chair for several years and, at age 22 in 2004, set the record for being the youngest woman ever elected to the board. She unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2022, finishing fourth in a seven-way special election. Dimitrijevic was reelected to her council seat without opposition in 2024. The alderwoman has served as chair of the Public Safety & Health Committee and, most recently, the Finance & Personnel Committee. She resides in Bay View with her family.

District 15 – Russell W. Stamper, II

Russell W. Stamper, II was first elected to the Common Council in a 2015 special election to replace council president Willie Hines, Jr. He has won reelection three times since to represent the 15th District, the city’s most impoverished. The alderman, known for his booming voice and off-the-cuff style, currently chairs the often quiet Community and Economic Development Committee. Stamper resides in Sherman Park with his family.

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Categories: Politics

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