Zielinski Downed, but Says Not Out

July 2, 2018

By Katherine Keller

District 14 Ald. Tony Zielinski, who represents Bay View, was booted from his role as chair of the city of Milwaukee’s Licenses Committee June 21.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton removed Zielinski in response to a number of unidentified business owners who complained that he pressured them to contribute money to his mayoral campaign.

“These are anonymous allegations,” Zielinski told the Compass. “There is no basis in fact. I followed proper procedures. This is an attempt to knock me out of the race because they know I am a serious threat.”

Zielinki frames his removal from the committee and chair role as a political ploy “by people associated with the status quo power structure (in Milwaukee) that I have been battling against.”

“If anybody thinks that this will stop or even slow me down, [they do] not know me,” he added.

Zielinski, who has held the District 14 seat since 2004, launched his campaign for Milwaukee mayor in November 2017.

Mayor Barrett recently announced that he would run again. This, his third term, ends in 2020.

Zielinski said he’s confident he will prevail because of the issues he has championed as alderman and that have been neglected by Mayor Barrett. 

“Once the campaign is up and running, [my opponents] know most people agree with me that the steep police cuts should not have taken place,” he said. “Most people agree with me that we have higher priorities than the streetcar. Some of those higher priorities include protective services, fixing our potholes, replacing our antiquated street lights so they are not constantly going out, and addressing the hazardous lead issues.”

Zielinski originally supported the streetcar project in downtown Milwaukee, voting for the project, but reversed his position, becoming a vehement opponent.

Confident that he’s well known on the city’s south side, Zielinski said he is campaigning on the north side, promising that he will address long-neglected issues that blight the city’s impoverished neighborhoods.

“Turning around the central city is another issue. If you are African American and you live in Milwaukee, you have it worse here than just about any other part of the country,” he said. “That is unacceptable and if we want to turn this city around we have to address central city issues.”

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