Politicians hit the streets in Milwaukee on Tuesday, in search of solutions to escalating gun violence which has seen more than 40 shootings so far in the month of August. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says what happens in Milwaukee matters beyond the city limits. “It’s the entire state of Wisconsin that has to worry about the biggest economic engine in the state, which is what Milwaukee is,” said Vos (R-Burlington). “I own a business in Milwaukee. We’ve been the victims of crime. So it’s not something that doesn’t directly affect me, because it has.”
Vos said he’ll meet with Milwaukee police chief Ed Flynn next week. “Before I criticize his individual techniques, I’d like to sit and listen to him,” he said. Vos and several other Republican lawmakers joined Alderman Bob Donovon for a walking tour Tuesday. Mayor Tom Barrett was not invited, but made an appearance anyway.
“I’ve crashed many parties,” said Barrett. “I think that they are genuine in wanting to find out more about this neighborhood, and I think it makes sense for them to be here. I’m sure we’ll have more conversations.”
Barrett wants to hire 100 more police officers, and wants to spend $500,000 to do that. He’s also asked for financial assistance from the state. “Of course I would, and I think every municipality would,” the mayor said. “We’ve got some serious issues about crime, and I don’t want to throw any hand grenades today. I’m just happy that they’re here, and I’m happy that they’re going to take time to look at neighborhoods.”
“I give credit to the mayor, because I want to have more officers on the street, where ever we are in Wisconsin,” said Vos. “But as we look at budgets, there are cities all across Wisconsin that all have needs.”