Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley delivered his 2024 State of the County address Tuesday afternoon at Discovery World. During the address, among other things, “County Executive Crowley discussed envisioning the future of Milwaukee County, driven by investments in affordable housing, mental health services, substance use disorder treatment, public transit, and local parks. In addition, the County Executive discussed the state of Milwaukee County’s fiscal outlook and how the passage of Wisconsin Act 12 has created a different budgetary environment than in previous years.”

The full 2024 State of the County address, prepared for delivery, is below, preceded by a video of the address.

Thank you for such a beautiful introduction and warm welcome. Ericka, I promise you, I will not throw away my shot.

Can we please give one more hand to Erika for doing such a fantastic job?

Before I begin, as we are joined together on Milwaukee’s lakefront, I want to respectfully acknowledge that the land and waterways encompassed in Milwaukee County are on the ancestral homeland of Indigenous People, including the Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee.

In honoring the ancestral owners of these lands and waterways, we strive to be respectful stewards, as we envision our future, as one Milwaukee County, together.

Now, it’s exciting to see so many leaders, partners, allies, and residents who share our vision to achieve racial and health equity, be present in the same room.

Thank you to the many community leaders for being here today. Your leadership and partnership have been invaluable over the last four years, and I look forward to what we will do together, as we continue envisioning the future of Milwaukee County.

It’s an honor to join you today at Discovery World.

As the proud father of three daughters, I am grateful that institutions like Discovery World are providing opportunities for our young people all across Milwaukee County.

Recently named one of the top ten science museums in the country by USA Today, Discovery World is a worldclass hub for innovation. Kids from across the state flock here to learn about science, technology, engineering, math, our natural resources, and so much more.

In fact, as I stand before you, local students from Siefert School, Alcott School, and Hawley Environmental School are walking Discovery World’s exhibit halls, gaining knowledge about topics like color theory and applying what they’ve learned to their schoolwork.

I want to thank Discovery World President and CEO Bryan Wunar, along with his entire team, for allowing us to be here today. Let’s show them our appreciation!

Now, when I envision the future of Milwaukee County, I’m pleased that organizations like Discovery World are helping to educate and engage the leaders of tomorrow.

And today’s location is quite fitting as we share our progress for Milwaukee County. 2

Right across the street from us stands The Couture, which will become the largest residential tower in the State of Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County is a proud partner with the Couture development team. This project represents a major transit-oriented development opportunity on a former County-owned site along our beautiful lakefront.

In the coming weeks, operations will begin at the Couture’s transit concourse for Milwaukee County’s Bus Rapid Transit line – or better known as CONNECT 1.

Soon enough, folks will have the option to take the CONNECT 1 line from the lakefront, all the way west to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa. Riders will also have The Hop streetcar as an option to move from the Couture throughout Downtown Milwaukee.

This is what transit-oriented development is all about: Creating family-supporting jobs, helping businesses succeed, boosting property values, and fostering connected and vibrant communities.

And as the son of a master electrician, I am ecstatic that the Couture is a 100% union-backed project.

We all know Milwaukee County is home to a workforce that is second-to-none.

Our community was literally built on the backs of Milwaukee unions, represented by organized labor like IBEW, and SEIU, and Local 139, and the Wisconsin Council of Carpenters.

And I want to take a moment and show some love for our construction unions, our skilled tradesmen and women, and our brothers and sisters in organized labor who are building up Milwaukee!

Now, when I envision the future of Milwaukee County, I am reminded of how far we’ve come, including along our lakefront, which has undergone a major transformation that we have been proud to help lead.

This includes Veteran’s Park to the north of here, which is gearing up for a very busy season.

From the Republican National Convention, to the Harley Davidson Homecoming Festival and the Air & Water Show, Veteran’s Park – in addition to all Milwaukee County Parks – is truly the place to be in 2024.

I want to thank tourism partners like VISIT Milwaukee for working with us to bring more exciting activity to the County. Hosting largescale events in Milwaukee, like the Redbull Flutag, shows the world that we are a world-class destination, ready to welcome anyone – from motorcyclists to political delegates.

And when visitors are planning their travel to Milwaukee County, I want them to fly with our hometown airport. 3

In 2023, Mitchell International Airport delivered strong results, continued to improve its world-class operations, and saw its best traffic year since before the pandemic with over 6 million passengers.

Now, that’s excellent news, and it means more travelers are seeing everything great that Milwaukee County has to offer.

And looking ahead, we’re now identifying what’s next for our community.

And in order to envision the future of Milwaukee County that we all deserve, we simply must have the resources to provide public services and invest back into the community.

You know, when I took office, my number one priority was to put Milwaukee County on the path of financial sustainability.

And driven by the passage of Wisconsin Act 12 that is providing Milwaukee County with new revenue tools and reforms, we find ourselves in a vastly different budgetary environment than in past years.

For the first time in decades, Act 12 increased the amount of annual shared revenue received by Milwaukee County, as well as created a long-sought-after fix to the County’s 25-year-old pension challenges.

This progress would not be possible without the leadership and advocacy of Governor Tony Evers, bipartisan lawmakers in the Wisconsin State Legislature, and private sector partners across the state. Milwaukee County is truly grateful for your efforts!

In addition to our State partners, the historic action taken by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to pass the local option sales tax is providing Milwaukee County with new revenue to further invest in our community.

Through the leadership of Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and the dedication of the Board, the County is expected to generate roughly $84 million in sales tax revenue this year, and beyond.

Thank you to Chairwoman Nicholson and the County Board for working with us to meet this moment! Please stand and be recognized.

But it’s also because of partners like Discovery World and our Move Forward MKE Coalition, a historic public-private partnership, that we have come to this moment.

To our Move Forward MKE Coalition members, thank you, and please stand and be recognized as well!

I am proud that we are capitalizing on Act 12 to deliver property tax relief to workers, families, and businesses. 4

With this current year’s budget surplus – the first in over two decades – we reduced the property tax levy by over $21 million.

In 2024, the average homeowner will see their County property taxes reduced by nearly $100.

This represents the largest amount of County property tax relief in decades. Now, that’s something we should all celebrate!

Now, at the same time, we are maintaining services that so many folks rely on – like public transit, mental health and substance use treatment, and access to housing services.

And the same goes for communities across Wisconsin. From Rhinelander and Green Bay to Watertown and Waukesha, our work to pass Wisconsin Act 12 delivered increased shared revenue to every single community in Wisconsin.

This was important to accomplish, because at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

And to those communities that are benefitting from Wisconsin Act 12, I have a very simple message for you: Thank you for joining our coalition, and you’re welcome!

But here’s another statewide win we worked to realize: The Milwaukee Brewers will play in Wisconsin for decades to come!

Through negotiations with our partners at the State of Wisconsin, I am pleased we reached a bipartisan agreement to keep the Brewers in Milwaukee through 2050.

But you know what, this law will do more than just that. We negotiated an estimated amount of up to $239 million in additional revenue flexibility that will keep more money right here at home.

This means that Milwaukee County will have more local dollars to address local priorities, while keeping the Brewers in Wisconsin for many years without any additional impact on local taxpayers.

Thank you to Rick Schlesinger and the team for your ongoing commitment to Milwaukee. Let’s go Brew Crew!

From the Brewers and the Milwaukee Bucks to our theaters and museums, Milwaukee County truly has something for everyone.

Now more than ever, we recognize the strength of the diversity in our community.

That’s why Milwaukee County’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has never been stronger. 5

We are doing everything that we can to lift up the work of our Office of Equity that is advancing equity-based policies across our community.

And we continue to amplify the work of the Office of Economic Inclusion that is leveling the playing field for minority-owned businesses to compete for contracts and job opportunities.

But as we envision Milwaukee County’s future, I am reminded of our vision: By achieving racial equity, Milwaukee County is the healthiest county in the State of Wisconsin.

It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one that guides our work to support every resident and family in Milwaukee County.

In 2020, Milwaukee County adopted its first comprehensive, County-wide strategic plan in more than 20 years.

And guided by this strategic plan and our key priorities, my administration is building on this progress. In the coming months, all Milwaukee County departments will be unveiling their own respective strategic plans.

As we continue envisioning the future of Milwaukee County, we are working to invest in programs, as well as operations, that will help achieve racial equity, make our community healthier, and advance the quality of life for Milwaukee County residents.

These department-specific plans will help further that visionary work.

But we know there’s still more for us to do. And as we approach five years since Milwaukee County became the first community in the nation to declare racism a public health crisis, we are examining where we currently are and committing to the work ahead.

This last October, we broke ground on the future Marcia P. Coggs Health and Human Services Center.

For the first time in Milwaukee County history, the Department of Health & Human Services will have a building designed specifically to deliver health and human services. The elimination of physical barriers to receive care will improve access to resources and services for families and individuals.

This will help advance DHHS’ ‘No Wrong Door’ model of customer service that is aimed at providing person-centered, holistic care to adults, children, and families through the health and human services continuum of care.

It means that however people connect with DHHS, they will have access to comprehensive services, as well as resources offered by community partners like Frieden’s Food Pantries, who are bringing healthy, nutritious foods to those in need. 6

The Marcia P. Coggs Center is scheduled to open in 2025, and it is one piece of our economic development and community-driven approach to addressing racial disparities in King Park and throughout Milwaukee County.

I want to thank Supervisor Priscilla Coggs-Jones, as well as the entire Coggs family, for their leadership and partnership on this project.

And right next door to the future Coggs Center is the Mental Health Emergency Center, which we relocated from Wauwatosa to the King Park neighborhood so we could bring these services closer to those who need them.

This represents a first-of-its-kind public private partnership with our regional health systems that is saving taxpayers money.

During its first year of operations, the Mental Health Emergency Center served more than 7,000 individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder related crisis.

Our Mental Health Navigators are also out in the community intervening with people experiencing tough times.

And as we envision a healthier future for Milwaukee County, we must ensure that folks can receive the help they need.

For years, local leaders and organizations across our community have been on the frontlines of the opioid crisis.

Milwaukee County has among the highest rates of overdose deaths in Wisconsin, and in 2023, more than 500 opioid overdose deaths occurred in our community.

We know additional resources and support are needed now more than ever.

That’s why in just two years, Milwaukee County opened three behavioral health access clinics to continue expanding mental health and substance use disorder services, including most recently on the city’s northwest side.

At the same time, we’re holding bad actors accountable after years of opioids devastating our communities and taking lives too soon.

The $102 million in opioid settlement funds received by Milwaukee County are helping to fight this crisis, representing the largest amount recovered by any local government in the history of Wisconsin.

And we are not taking one second for granted, as 15 opioid settlement-funded projects are currently underway. 7

Here’s an example: Last year, our Behavioral Health Services team placed 11 Harm Reduction Vending Machines throughout Milwaukee County.

Now, these machines are stocked with supplies like free fentanyl testing strips, Narcan, and gun locks to prevent tragic situations.

And in 2024, we are looking for new businesses and organizations to host eight additional Harm Reduction Vending Machines.

Making these harm reduction tools free and easily accessible has been lifesaving in our community, with over 2,000 boxes of Narcan being utilized by the public from these vending machines, including at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Last December, a normal day was underway at the center as visitors were working out and playing basketball.

A Parks employee and two volunteers noticed unusual activity when a crowd gathered near the gym as two men overdosed on opioids. The employee accessed Narcan through the Harm Reduction Vending Machine and administered two doses to each man.

Because of this quick action and easy access to Narcan, those two men lived to see another day and work toward their recovery.

In another recent case, an MCTS bus driver administered Narcan to a transit rider experiencing an overdose.

This is exactly why we are investing in harm reduction resources: Because lives depend on it.

Today, we are joined by those brave Milwaukee County changemakers who sprang into action and saved lives. Please stand and be recognized.

While I’m grateful for these heroic actions, we all want these situations to occur less.

That’s why we must envision a healthier, safer future in Milwaukee County.

I recently joined the Medical College of Wisconsin to celebrate 50 years of emergency medical services right here in Milwaukee County and the profound impact that it has had on the health and safety of our residents.

I believe public health goes hand-in-hand with public safety, which is why we are approaching the challenges facing us through a health equity lens.

Last year, we broke ground on the Forensic Science and Protective Medicine Facility in Wauwatosa. This is the result of a significant collaboration with the State of Wisconsin and our health system partners to create a desperately needed space for the Milwaukee County Medical 8

Examiner and to enhance the operations of the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

And in 2024, DHHS will be implementing the Advance Peace Model to help address gun violence in our community.

In cities nationwide where this effort was implemented, homicide and violent crime rates dropped.

This year as part of the Advance Peace Model, DHHS will be collaborating with community justice partners and deploying grassroots solutions to stop gun violence and support positive outcomes for our youth.

In fact, just last week, DHHS identified the community organization who will carry out the work of the Advance Peace Fellowship Program.

Milwaukee Christian Center will work with our County’s Credible Messenger Program to provide mentorship, life-coaching, family resources, and more to our youth who’ve been involved in group-based conflict and gun violence throughout Milwaukee County.

And speaking of the Credible Messenger program, last year, we expanded this effort to add a specific focus on serving young girls, including addressing their unique needs and helping to prevent contact with the youth justice system.

I want to thank DHHS Executive Director Shakita LaGrant-McClain and her entire team for envisioning a safer, healthier future for Milwaukee County.

Supporting our veterans and their families remains a top priority for Milwaukee County.

In 2023, our Veteran Services team served approximately 4,100 veterans, dependents, and survivors – an approximate 15% increase from the previous year.

This work is helping our veterans access critical health benefits, energy assistance, and additional resources.

Veterans bravely served and sacrificed for our country, and it’s our responsibility to do right by them. I want to thank Veteran Services Director Rick Flowers and his team for carrying out this important work.

Milwaukee County’s Division on Aging is working to reimagine our senior centers with new signage and amenities, as well as by expanding the County’s Dine Out Initiative that is providing older adults with nutritious meals, as well as social opportunities.

The Aging & Disability Resource Center dramatically increased its connection with the community in 2023 to help older adults and people with disabilities meet their needs and remain independent. 9

Also, at the beginning of the year, Milwaukee County launched a new housing repair program for older adults and people living with disabilities, so they are easily able to navigate their homes, remain safe, and age in place.

Thank you to our Aging Services team and the Commission on Aging for working on behalf of our seniors and older adults.

As we envision Milwaukee County’s future, our success is dependent on state and federal partnerships.

For example, the American Rescue Plan Act has delivered significant federal dollars to Milwaukee County.

And over the past year, Milwaukee County’s ARPA Task Force has led the way in evaluating projects and recommending funding for items which align with our vision of race and health equity.

Thank you to the ARPA Task Force, including Co-Chair Ricardo Diaz and Supervisors Shawn Rolland and Liz Sumner, for your nationally acclaimed work. Please stand and be recognized.

From investing in affordable housing to boosting mental health services, our federal partnerships have played a key role in helping us envision a brighter future for Milwaukee County.

I mentioned the Coggs Center and the Mental Health Emergency Center earlier. Now, those projects would not have moved forward without federal partnerships.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and our federal delegation continue fighting for our community, advocating on our behalf, and delivering these critical funds right to Milwaukee County. Let’s show them our appreciation!

And if it wasn’t for the leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we would not be seeing this current level of investment.

Here’s the latest example: President Biden recently signed new legislation into law that will deliver another $7 million for affordable housing projects in our community, as well as $1 million for public transit investments, and additional funds for parks improvements all across Milwaukee County.

The bottom line is this: The state of Milwaukee County is stronger thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration! Thank you, President Biden!

Now, we continue working with the Biden-Harris Administration, Senator Baldwin, and our federal allies to expand affordable housing options across our community. 10

Just Last month, I met with the President in Washington, D.C. to discuss our efforts to build new homes in the King Park neighborhood using ARPA funding.

According to recent data collected through Milwaukee County’s housing dashboard, racial disparities in homeownership rates continue to persist.

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Emem Group, we are putting the final touches on over 100 new homes in the King Park neighborhood, near the future Coggs Center and a soon-to-be revitalized community center at King Park.

Once those homes are complete, we will be connecting with first-time homebuyers, so we can help more families, and particularly families of color, achieve the dream of homeownership.

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Housing is a matter of public health, and housing security is a critical social determinant of health.

Envisioning Milwaukee County’s future includes expanding equitable access to safe, quality, and affordable housing in every corner of our community.

That’s why we deployed $15 million in ARPA funds for affordable housing developments across five different Milwaukee County suburbs.

And look, it’s not always easy to make these projects happen. Here’s an example: Milwaukee County pledged funding for an affordable housing development in Whitefish Bay.

The project was initially rejected by a local review board. So, we took our case to the community. We made our voices heard and advocated for this project during public meetings.

And thanks to the partnership of the Whitefish Bay Board of Trustees and the leadership of DHHS Director LaGrant-McClain and Housing Services Administrator Jim Mathy… we prevailed, paving the way for the first affordable housing development in Whitefish Bay’s modern history!

And we are not done yet. As your Milwaukee County Executive, I will keep directing my administration to support affordable housing efforts at every turn, so every family can live in the neighborhood of their choice.

Just last month, we approved $1 million in federal funding for a new affordable and emergency housing project in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.

This is a meaningful development that will bring together DHHS services and bridge the gap between housing insecurity and behavioral health needs.

DHHS is also continuing efforts to address homelessness through our Housing First approach. 11

In 2023, Milwaukee County had the second lowest unsheltered population per capita in the nation. And we are working to get back to number one in 2024.

But this will take further collaboration with our state and federal partners, as well as with the local business community. And I want to let you know that those conversations are underway.

In the meantime, our Housing Navigators are out in the community everyday meeting folks where they are to connect them with stable housing, resources, and supportive services.

But look, when we invest in housing, we are investing in workers and families. We’re investing in businesses and neighborhoods. Our investments in public transit are doing this as well.

I mentioned Bus Rapid Transit at the beginning of my address. After launching last summer, CONNECT 1 is already in the top 10 most popular routes within the MCTS system, attracting nearly double the number of riders per day.

We are excited to begin envisioning the next step of public transit right here in Milwaukee County through the second BRT line that will operate along 27th Street from Oak Creek to Glendale.

And while we are working with our federal partners to fund this project, we are not wasting any time reinvesting in our public transit system.

My current budget allocated an additional $17 million for MCTS to help sustain current transportation services and to enhance transit security operations.

At the same time, we are investing in ADA-compliant bus pads, new clean diesel buses added to our fleet, and the largest investment in County history to address transit security.

But when we envision a future for Milwaukee County where transportation is more accessible, we must also recommit to making sure our streets are safer by combating reckless driving.

We’ve all heard the stories. Reckless driving has reached dangerous levels in Milwaukee, directly affecting the overall health of our community.

Since 2014, fatal crashes have increased dramatically throughout the County and have increased at a higher rate than the rest of the country.

Understanding and developing strategies to improve community health starts with collecting the data. Last week, I unveiled the County’s motor vehicle collision dashboard alongside the Milwaukee Areas Safe Streets Task Force to bring the data to the forefront of this conversation.

Also, earlier this month, the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation released the first-ever Transportation Safety Assessment Report, as part of our Complete Communities Initiative. 12

The report, paired with the data displayed in the County’s Motor Vehicle Collision Dashboard, gives us a clear grasp of where crashes are occurring, to whom, and the causes behind each collision.

This data will help policymakers enhance the safety of our roads for all who use them.

But in the meantime, we are using federal funding to deploy street safety improvements across five municipalities within Milwaukee County.

With these dollars, portable speed bumps are being placed throughout Greendale and West Allis.

Shorewood and Wauwatosa are installing temporary traffic circles, curb extensions, and new security cameras.

In South Milwaukee, new traffic calming efforts are underway, all thanks to federal dollars.

And right here in the City of Milwaukee, Mayor Cavalier Johnson and so many local leaders have been steadfast partners and advocates in fostering safer streets that are more walkable, bikeable, and accessible. Thank you all for your leadership.

Again, I am proud that we are envisioning a future where our roadways are safe and accessible for all to visit the many wonderful destinations in Milwaukee County, and yes, that includes our parks.

We are pursuing new ways to fund our County Parks, and in 2023, we saw a record year for these efforts.

Revenue from our beer gardens, golf courses, and recreational services are exceeding expectations and supporting County operations.

And through a renewed partnership with the Milwaukee Parks Foundation, we will be embarking on a new fundraising campaign to continue investing in our parks and our outdoor assets.

We know our County Parks system requires significant investments and major repairs, as recently reported by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

That’s why since I took office, I’ve increased the Parks budget by almost $10 million.

By working with Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, this commitment is helping fund forward-looking improvements, and that includes Tiefenthaler Park and Walker’s Square Park with upgraded amenities, improved lighting, and turf restoration work.

And across the County, we are planting more trees, making upgrades to trails and LED lighting, building bike trails with new connections, and deploying exciting investments with our partners at the Boys and Girls Club in Sherman Park and the Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park. 13

Our team is also actively working with partners like the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and others to clean up contaminated waterways classified by the federal government as “Areas of Concern” to help realize new opportunity and vibrancy all throughout our waterways.

But when I envision Milwaukee County’s future – like our parks – we know we need partnerships.

Governor Evers declared 2024 the “Year of the Worker.”

I could not agree more. Milwaukee County is eager to be a partner alongside the Governor, and we’re already working to help foster our future workforce.

Through the ARPA-funded Lighting Jobs Program, we are creating career pathways for area youth by training them to install energy efficiency enhancements in Milwaukee County buildings.

At the Community Reintegration Center – formerly known as the House of Correction – we are helping people rehabilitate through jobs and training programs. In 2023, we partnered with Employ Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Area Technical College to bring back occupational skills training to the CRC for the first time since 2008.

Another community partner, Ruben Gaona, brought his My Way Out program to the CRC this past year, empowering residents to develop job and technology skills, money management techniques, and more.

Ruben is here with us today and we want to say thank you for your partnership. Let’s give him a hand.

But as we continue envisioning the brightest possible future for Milwaukee County, where residents can get ahead, where small businesses can thrive, and where young people can succeed, we know strong partnerships are needed.

Looking ahead, we are connecting with more trade unions, businesses, and organizations to let them know Milwaukee County is not only ready, but we are able to help get the job done in envisioning our future workforce.

Our success is dependent on partnerships, as they’ve produced amazing things for Milwaukee County, but our work is not done.

From building a new criminal justice facility downtown, to constructing the future international travel concourse at Mitchell International Airport, partnerships remain the way forward.

But look, I am not naïve. We must remain committed to the work that is ahead of us. 14

While our outlook has dramatically improved, Act 12 and the sales tax have not resolved all of our fiscal challenges, and we are mindful that there will be budget deficits again in future years.

That is why I created a centralized grant development unit to ensure that we are bringing in new grant funding that allows us to implement upstream programs and services that we would not otherwise be able to offer.

The County secured more than $100 million in revenue over the last three years with this centralized support.

Because we know that securing more federal dollars is not only beneficial to our budget and financial success, but also to Wisconsin’s success.

But in order to solve the obstacles before us, compromise and collaboration are key.

Moving forward, we must strongly promote fiscal responsibility and thoughtful budgeting, while maintaining the level of service that we need right here in Milwaukee County.

And I call on every partner we’ve highlighted today. Our partners in Madison, our regional business community, our philanthropic leaders, our unions, our grassroots organizations, our non-profits, our residents, to join us in building a future in Milwaukee County that we can all be proud of.

I look forward to more conversations with our state and federal partners, representing both sides of the aisle, to bring more funding to Milwaukee County that will help us address the fiscal challenges that lie ahead.

But I have to say: Overall, I am so proud of our progress, and it’s because of great leaders in our community, who stand by our side as we envision Milwaukee County’s future.

I want to thank two local leaders who are retiring after decades of public service.

Milwaukee County Comptroller Scott Manske has served our community with dignity since 1992, ensuring the County’s financial integrity and lasting sustainability.

Scott, I want to thank you for your service.

I also want to thank Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for his decades of service to our community.

Over the years, District Attorney Chisholm has worked to pursue justice and promote public safety. And John, I wish you all the best in the future.

And this past year, we lost a giant in our community. Senator Herb Kohl was a true champion for Milwaukee. Throughout his life and career in public service, philanthropy, and business, Herb Kohl worked to lift us up, and to move us forward. 15

From keeping the Bucks in our city, to supporting educational opportunities for our youth, Senator Kohl’s positive impact on Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin will be forever remembered in our hearts and minds, as we work to build upon his legacy and envision a more vibrant, a more equitable country. Because that is the Herb Kohl way.

As the first Black elected County Executive in the history of Milwaukee, I understand that I didn’t get here on my own. I stand on the shoulders of the leaders in this room and those who paved the way before me, including Vel R. Phillips, who we recently honored during what would have been her 100th birthday.

But as we continue envisioning our future, I have to say this: The State of our County is getting stronger, healthier, and brighter every day.

Because we know that what’s good for Milwaukee County is what’s good for the entire State of Wisconsin.

And I believe in what’s to come. I believe in our vision. I believe in our potential. And I believe in our future.

I look forward to our continued work together. May God bless you all. And thank you.

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