Earlier this week, the City of Milwaukee elected its first Black mayor.
Cavalier Johnson, who previously stepped in as acting mayor in late 2021, beat out Bob Donovan by a wide margin in the April 5 special election.
Johnson reportedly received 62,143 votes compared to 24,543 votes Donovan received, according to unofficial poll results.
Johnson takes over the seat previously held by former Mayor Tom Barrett, who has held onto the position since 2004.
“I want to thank Milwaukee’s voters,” Johnson said during his victory speech at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. “It’s because of you that after a 176-year history in this city, a Black man can stand up and say that ‘I’ve been elected to serve as your mayor.'”
During his campaign, Johnson told voters he plans to curb the city’s violence and improve its COVID-19 response. The 35-year-old Milwaukee native was first elected to the Common Council in 2016, where he quickly rose to Council President. He also served as Alderman for the 2nd District, where experts have mentioned many of Johnson’s support on the ballots came from.
In regards to making history, Jone said the “symbolism” of the moment isn’t lost on him. “And it shouldn’t be lost on anybody in this room either. This is an important moment in our state’s history, so I hope that all the Black and brown boys and girls when they wake up for school, they do so knowing that where you live, no matter how much or how little your parents make, and no matter the color of your skin that in Milwaukee there’s a place for you too,” Johnson said.
“I know what it’s like to be hungry. I know what it’s like to move around,” Johnson continued. “So whether I’m meeting with school kids, the men and women who sweep our streets, or corporate CEOs that carries with me. And my calling is service because i’m a son of this city and now we must continue our work.”