Thank You, South Milwaukee

My time as South Milwaukee’s mayor has officially ended, and I want to thank everyone who has reached out since my announcement with well wishes and kind words. 

While I have not been able to respond to everyone, please know your messages have been cherished, humbling and much appreciated. 

I’m not naive — I know there are some who are clearly happy I’m leaving this job, and that’s how this works. I was proudly their mayor, too, while recognizing the haters often aren’t the most prolific voices in the room. They are just the loudest. 

As I walk away, my love for this city and positive feelings about where we are headed have not subsided. Our future has never been more promising. 

I leave the city in great hands. 

To our first-class city department heads and front-line workers, thank you for delivering every day, especially during the incredibly challenging times of the past 18 months. 

To Alderman David Bartoshevich, I wish you nothing but the best as you assume the role of acting mayor until April. With your experience, good heart and love of this city, you will serve South Milwaukee well.

To the rest of the council, I offer the same good feelings. We may not have agreed on everything during my tenure (and that’s a good thing), I thank you for your leadership and wish you wisdom as you wrestle with some big decisions you will be asked to make in coming months and years. 

I also offer thanks to our volunteer board and commission members for your continued service. Be proud of the difference you are making.

Here is the good news: South Milwaukee is just starting its ascendency. 

The opportunity in front of us is historic.

I firmly believe 2022 and the years ahead will be critical for this city, as public and private investment pours into South Milwaukee and leaders make difficult and defining decisions around how to best use those funds to solve longstanding problems and build for the future. 

  • The $10 million Bucyrus Foundation investment in our city and schools begins next year — funds that will touch so many people and institutions across our community.  
  • Downtown redevelopment is just beginning, with new businesses coming online, existing ones choosing to grow locally, and hundreds of new apartments planned. 
  • New life continues to come to the former Bucyrus campus — almost vacant a year ago, it is now almost fully leased, sold or planned to be, with key decisions yet to be made.
  • The $2 million Bucyrus Commons public event space should be reality by next fall, in time for Crusherfest.
  • The Oak Creek Watershed restoration plan is finally complete — giving communities across the watershed the roadmap they need to make investment decisions around this critical resource (and air cover to seek that money). 
  • Federal infrastructure and stimulus dollars coming will have an impact, too, hopefully delivering big solutions to big problems like (too many) homes with lead water lines. 

And that is just the start. My hope and ask going forward is that elected leaders of this city build on the foundation we’ve laid, thinking and acting boldly, and with urgency, to seize on the opportunities in front of us. I’ll be rooting hard for their success, as I refocus my energies on my family, my small businesses and the St. Anthony High School girls’ basketball team. 

As for what’s next for this platform and my mayoral Facebook page, both will go dormant for a time, as I determine plans for both. Until I have that final decision, I will keep the blog published, but not be updating it. I will (at least temporarily) unpublish my mayoral Facebook page.

That said, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll find other ways to give back to my community, and already am. I got into politics to help people, and I will do just that — outside of City Hall. 

Have a blessed holiday season, South Milwaukee. Forward!

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