Monday, June 4, 2012

What Has Tom Barrett Done for Milwaukee?

Most of us know what Walker has done for Wisconsin, but what has Tom Barrett done for Milwaukee?

Scott Walker wants to blame the bad economy on the previous governor, but Tom Barrett had to deal with the same recession and Walker wants you to forget that when he trots out the change in jobs since Barrett became Mayor of Milwaukee following the 2004 election. The recession caused by the mortgage crisis began just before his second term. Comparing the change in jobs during Barrett's term to the change in jobs during Walker's term is disingenuous.

Barrett couldn't control the stock market or the mortgage industry that caused the significant job loss in Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin, but he could do things to mitigate the crisis in Milwaukee. Using Walker's unverified numbers in which he says Wisconsin created 23,000 jobs, Milwaukee created 4,400 jobs in the same time period. Of course, using the verified numbers, nearly all of Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, lost jobs.

Barrett has been sharply focused on jobs and the economy. Barrett co-founded and co-chairs the Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Group which has brought new factories to Milwaukee that create green energy products from windmills to solar panels. Working with Republicans and Democrats in the M7, Barrett has created nearly 4,000 new jobs in Menomonee Valley, revitalizing the area.

Intertwining his other focus, education, Barrett put high school students into the workforce to prepare them for jobs right out of high school through his Earn & Learn initiative. The innovative program, if implemented across the country, could fill the void in skilled labor and is the primary way (education) to decrease the unemployment rate given the millions of unfilled skilled jobs.

Barrett also dealt with the biggest budget cuts to the city in history, from Walker. But instead of dividing and conquering various factions within the city, Barrett dealt with the significant loss of money with shared sacrifice, shared responsibility, and without taking away anyone's rights.

Barrett strongly decried Walker when he stole money from mortgage fraud victims, most of which reside in Milwaukee, to help offset Walker's budget deficit.

Another focus for Barrett is crime, particularly violent crime of which Barrett has been a victim of. Barrett started an initiative in Milwaukee to try to reduce the significant amount of violent crime that Milwaukee has suffered long before Barrett became mayor. Milwaukee has seen a sharp decline in homicide rates with Barrett's initiative.

Tom Barrett was also a lead proponent of Bill Clinton's crime bill which reduced crime for 8 consecutive years, the first in U. S. history of that length.

Tom Barrett solves problems through cooperation to find the best solutions, not by trying to divide and conquer people.

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