Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Crowley Sworn In For Second Term Before Large Crowd

The county executive announces new plans for affordable housing and transit funding. And hints at gubernatorial run.

By - May 9th, 2024 07:32 pm

County Executive David Crowley takes the oath of office from Judge Joe Donald, with his wife Ericka, and daughters Autumn and Ava. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Some things change and others stay the same.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley was sworn in for his second term in office Thursday after sailing through his reelection bid this spring with 85% of the vote.

The ceremony contrasted greatly with the first time he took the oath of office. Four years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic had recently arrived in Milwaukee, and to maintain social distancing, the county executive was sworn in on the front lawn of his home in the city’s Nash Park Neighborhood.

This time the county executive took the oath in a packed room at 3rd Street Market Hall, with family, supporters, government officials and local elected officials in attendance. He did, however, once again take the oath from Judge Joe Donald.

Crowley made history four years ago as the first Black Milwaukee County Executive elected to the job, and as someone who grew up in the city’s infamous 53206 ZIP code. During that speech, he grappled with the historic nature of his election and coming into office at what would prove to be the beginning of a multi-year pandemic response.

With his second inaugural speech, Crowley mentioned some of the highlights of his first term, including the county’s first strategic plan, the millions in funding the county has directed toward affordable housing projects and the successful lobbying effort by the county and the city that produced Wisconsin Act 12, giving the local governments new authority to levy additional sales tax revenue and reform their pension systems.

Looking forward, the county executive previewed a major policy initiative of his second term: an affordable housing trust fund.

“My administration will be working to revive Milwaukee County’s housing trust fund that will deliver funding for affordable housing developments to close financing gaps, create jobs, and make these important projects a reality,” the county executive said.

Crowley also said his administration would pursue the largest, most diverse federal investment in public transit and transportation infrastructure in the history of Milwaukee County.

The county is currently working toward a federal grant that would cover 80% of a $148 million bus rapid transit project, and on top of that, Crowley’s administration plans to pursue federal RAISE grants, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding and earmarks in federal appropriations bills for transit.

“The Federal Transit Administration has identified Milwaukee County as a high-priority region for transit infrastructure improvements,” Crowley said. “And you know what, we have their attention, and now we have to capitalize on our momentum.”

Toward the end of his speech, the county executive expanded the scope of his remarks until they encompassed the entire state. He explained that during the statewide lobbying effort for Act 12, he traveled the state meeting with local leaders. Crowley ticked off a list of public policy challenges facing Milwaukee — like the opioid crisis, affordable housing and funding for public transportation — and said he found communities around the state were grappling with these issues, too.

“And this effort, quite honestly, it opened my eyes,” Crowley said. “It opened my eyes to what our collective potential and impact can really be if communities across this state would just work together.”

The county executive said leaders across the state who worked together on Act 12 should continue to collaborate and advocate for the common reforms needed in communities across the state.

Because here’s the deal,” he said. “What’s good for Milwaukee County is good for all of Wisconsin.”

If the county executive is aware of rumblings that he may be considering a future run for governor, his speech Thursday will do nothing to quiet them.

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Categories: MKE County, Politics

2 thoughts on “MKE County: Crowley Sworn In For Second Term Before Large Crowd”

  1. AttyDanAdams says:

    The first step toward affordable housing would be to get local government’s boot off property taxpayers’ throat (owners and renters). Of course, Crowley did the opposite by endorsing the recent MPS tax hike.

  2. mkwagner says:

    Obvious Dan Adams has never lived with the fear of homeless or the ordeal in finding affordable housing in Milwaukee County. Milwaukee has some of the highest rent increases in the country. This is NOT due to property taxes. It’s the result of too little affordable units and too many competing for them.
    The whole state suffers from a lack of affordable housing. However, the legislature is more interested in fueling culture wars than addressing the needs of Wisconsin residents.
    Please don’t include renters in your rants until you have walked in our shoes.

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