THE INTERVIEW: Mayor Cavalier Johnson and County Executive David Crowley on a 'historic' year for Milwaukee
The Recombobulation Area's Dan Shafer sat down for an extended interview with the mayor and county executive. Find our full coverage of the interview here.
The Recombobulation Area is a ten-time Milwaukee Press Club award-winning weekly opinion column and online publication written, edited and published by longtime Milwaukee journalist Dan Shafer. Learn more about it here.
The year 2023 is one that signifies a real turning point in Milwaukee’s history. Much of that change was able to come about because of two dynamic young leaders who are changing the city and county’s trajectory in a significant and meaningful way.
Those two leaders are Mayor Cavalier Johnson and County Executive David Crowley.
Each in their first term serving in their current roles, Johnson and Crowley have achieved what previous leaders had been unable to — securing long-needed financial reforms to ensure a brighter future for the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. The bill that became Act 12, a law reforming the relationship between state and local government, that will bring new funding to every county and municipality in the state, including hundreds of millions of dollars for Milwaukee. Johnson and Crowley knew Milwakee’s future depended on these reforms, on this change, and made this a priority, from their campaigns all the way through to the finish line when the bill was signed in June.
“We both walked into this knowing that it needed to get done,” said Johnson. “So, Plan A was to get it done. Plan B was to refer to Plan A.”
This is a monumental achievement, and one that is already having a positive downstream impact on the city and county, which just were able to pass budgets that have the financials in their best position in a generation — finally beginning to turn the dial from cuts to investments. For a city and county that has been battling cuts to local government for decades, this is an enormous change.
In this extended sit-down interview, Johnson and Crowley reflected on this achievement, on the year that was in Milwaukee, and much more.
The Recombobulation Area had the opportunity to sit down for an extended interview with Johnson and Crowley to reflect on these achievements, look ahead to Milwaukee’s future, and discuss so much more.
The Recombobulation Area has made this interview available in video and audio formats, free for viewers and listeners, made possible because of our loyal and growing group of subscribers.
The Recombobulation Area is a reader-funded publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
You can watch the full video interview here on Substack.
You can also watch it on YouTube.
The full conversation is also available here at The Recombobulation Area as a podcast, which you can listen to here.
Along with reflections on Act 12 negotiations and the year that was, Johnson and Crowley also discussed topics including goals to grow Milwaukee to one million people, how immigration can be part of the city and county’s growth, controversial freeway removal projects that were in the spotlight this year, the election year ahead, the city hosting the Republican National Convention, their political futures, and much more.
You can read several stories with quotes from this interview here.
This interview was filmed and recorded in studio at Podcamp Media, and was edited and produced by Katie Shafer.
Dan Shafer is a journalist from Milwaukee who writes and publishes The Recombobulation Area. He’s also written for The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Heartland Signal, Belt Magazine, WisPolitics, and Milwaukee Record. He previously worked at Seattle Magazine, Seattle Business Magazine, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine, and BizTimes Milwaukee. He’s won 17 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards. He’s on Twitter at @DanRShafer.
Already subscribe? Get a gift subscription for a friend!
Follow Dan Shafer on Twitter at @DanRShafer.