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Dimitrijevic: ‘I want Milwaukee to be the most welcoming place to all people’
In an interview with The Recombobulation Area, the Bay View alderwoman emphasized a progressive, welcoming vision, particularly on the issue of immigration. Part of our coverage of the race for mayor.
The Recombobulation Area is a weekly opinion column by veteran Milwaukee journalist Dan Shafer. Learn more about it here.
The City of Milwaukee is going to have an election for mayor. On February 15, we'll have a primary that could prove to be the most competitive mayoral primary in a generation.
Here at The Recombobulation Area, we’re going to be covering that election and getting into the issues. As part of that coverage, we are interviewing the candidates. Paid subscribers will be able to listen to full audio of those interviews and read a full transcript of what each candidate had to say.
In addition to those longer-form interviews, we’re also going to be featuring some of what candidates said during our interviews in breakout stories like the one you’re reading here.
Marina Dimitrijevic wants to put forth a progressive, welcoming vision for the future of Milwaukee.
In an interview with The Recombobulation Area, the Bay View alderwoman discussed a variety of progressive policies she’d look to implement as mayor, and also emphasized a message of equality and unity, starting with her campaign slogan of “We are one.”
“(Milwaukee) should not feel like five or six or seven cities in one,” she said. “Everyone deserves the absolute same level of safety, peacefulness and city services, no matter where you live. Your ZIP code certainly shouldn't define what your future is. And right now in Milwaukee, unfortunately, it has.”
Dimitrijevic emphasized her endorsements from various labor unions, and her record of “working for the 99%, not just the 1%” on issues like raising wages and offering paid parental leave.
Additionally, she said, part of what the mayor can do to address the issue of a ZIP code defining your future is to emphasize projects beyond just downtown.
“I do think that downtown is a catalyst,” she said. “You've got to have a thriving downtown in the big city. We've seen big cities that don't have that and it's been problematic. But what I offer as mayor is I think we can do both. You can do many things at once. As a mom, I'm used to multi-tasking. And I think we can do both as a city. I want to see equal investment both in downtown and in all neighborhoods in the city. It does feel a bit like there's been such a focus downtown that perhaps we haven't used those same tools throughout the city in all neighborhoods.”
Among the ways she wants to emphasize her welcoming message is on the issue of immigration.
“I want Milwaukee to be the most welcoming place to all people,” she said. “Look at our history. Milwaukee was built on the backs of immigrants, whether it be from Europe, Germany, or even most recently, all parts of Latin America and South America. My father is an immigrant. My husband is an immigrant. And I just know how hard it is to work to achieve that American dream.”
The 2020 census results showed that Milwaukee is not growing from an overall population standpoint, and when asked about that issue, Dimitrijevic pointed first to the growth of the Hispanic population on the city’s south side, some in neighborhoods she has represented, and said she would offer “additional assistance and resources to our Latino community” to help continue that trajectory.
Dimitrijevic also has the endorsement of influential immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera.
“I have a record and one that stands out in this race that is over and over again, fighting for immigrant rights,” she said.
She added, “I believe the city of Milwaukee should make it as easy as possible for people to feel welcome.”
For the full podcast version and transcript of our interview with Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, subscribe to The Recombobulation Area. Get started for just $5.
Stay tuned for more of our coverage on the race for mayor in Milwaukee.
Dan Shafer is a journalist from Milwaukee who writes and publishes The Recombobulation Area. He previously worked at Seattle Magazine, Seattle Business Magazine, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine, and BizTimes Milwaukee. He’s also written for The Daily Beast, WisPolitics, and Milwaukee Record. He’s on Twitter at @DanRShafer.
Follow Dan Shafer on Twitter at @DanRShafer.