COVID-19 has been nothing short of catastrophic in its impact on health and the economy of community. Milwaukee County government is not exempt from this impact.
There is only one way to end a pandemic. That is through social distancing.
Milwaukee County is unique in Wisconsin in that it does not have its own health department. In fact, there are 11 different health departments within the 19 local municipalities. This presents a challenge in coordinating a strong public health response.
We must bring stakeholders together from all across the county and from all different sectors (public health, law enforcement, first responders, etc.) to figure out the best way to address this crisis, all while dealing with the fact that most of these people may be working from home.
We must do all we can to educate harder to reach populations in Milwaukee County who may be less trusting of government and/or less plugged into media sources.
This can only be done with strong leadership. In a County like Milwaukee, without centralized leadership in public health, I believe the County Executive must be that leader. Being a bridge builder and bringing our community together is more important than ever.
I am ready on day one to provide leadership in this time of crisis to put the people of Milwaukee County first. The work has to begin the day the election is certified. It can’t wait until the new County Executive takes office. Immediately, I will:
- Assess the situation and the strategies that are already in place and identify any issues with the current efforts.
- Work directly with the members of the County Board to ensure we are moving together, in a strong, coordinated way.
- I will assess how the current leadership is functioning, who wants to stay, and if there are gaps in leadership that need to be filled, I will make those changes swiftly and work with the County Board to get them confirmed.
- I will work collaboratively with all 19 municipalities and their health departments to ensure we are changing health orders and providing the most accurate information possible to our residents as the crisis evolves and dissipates.
- I will work with the Governor and State Legislature to ensure there are proper accommodations for the upcoming elections. We were not ready to administer the April election in the face of this crisis, I will do all that I can to make sure that our August and November elections can run as safely and efficiently as possible.
In the wake of the current crisis, the county is losing revenue, whether it’s from sales taxes or MCTS ridership, and we need to respond. I will use my relationships at the state and federal level to make sure that Milwaukee County is getting the help it needs.
Milwaukee County residents are going to need to rely on county services more than ever, and we will have less resources to provide these services. Our residents may have lost their jobs, their insurance, or even their loved ones. Milwaukee County must be ready to provide for our most vulnerable residents throughout and after this crisis.
The County Executive does not hold ultimate power to combat this crisis, they must be able to work with others. In our current situation, being a bridge builder is more important than ever. This can’t be 19 municipalities fending for themselves. This must be a coordinated county-wide effort.