Lena Taylor

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Lena Taylor
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 4th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Gwen Moore
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 18th district
In office
April 2003 – January 2005
Personal details
Born (1966-07-25) July 25, 1966 (age 48)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Profession Attorney

Lena C. Taylor (born July 25, 1966) is a Democratic member of the Wisconsin Senate, representing the 4th District since 2005, and formerly served as the co-chair of the powerful Joint Committee on Finance. She previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly, representing the 18th District from 2003 through 2005. [1]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Taylor, a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a 1984 graduate of Rufus King High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1990, and a law degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1993. As an undergraduate, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

After law school, Taylor worked as a public defender for more than two years, representing indigent citizens in need of legal services. In 1996, she opened Taylor and Associates Law Office, a general practice firm on the north side of Milwaukee.

Wisconsin legislature[edit]

Taylor was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in a special election in April 2003 and was subsequently elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004. When Democrats were elected to the majority in the Wisconsin State Senate in November 2006, Taylor was chosen to Chair the Committee on Judiciary and Corrections, on which she had served for the preceding two years. In January 2007, Taylor was selected by the Majority Leader to serve on the powerful Joint Committee on Finance for the second time. Following the recall of Van Wanggaard in June 2012, and the return of Democrats to majority party control, Taylor was named co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance. She is the first African-American woman ever to serve as the co-chair of the committee.

As of her reelection in 2012, Senator Taylor currently serves on five different Senate Committees. She holds seats on two important economic committees: the Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism Committee, and also the Economic Development and Local Government Committee. Senator Taylor also looks to promote voting equality and urban representation through her position on the Elections and Urban Affairs Committee. While she no longer serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Taylor is still actively involved with the judicial and corrections system by occupying a seat on the Senate Joint Review on Criminal Penalties, and her dedication to community outreach. Furthermore, Senator Taylor also serves on the Senate Special Committee on Symposia Series on State Income Tax Reform Information.

In past sessions, Senator Taylor served on the influential Joint Committee on Finance, and as the first African-American to chair the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, expanding the committee’s work on criminal justice reforms and implemented the first ever “State of Justice” tour with the committee across Wisconsin.


2011 Wisconsin protests[edit]

During the protests in Wisconsin, Taylor, along with the 13 other Democratic State Senators, left the state to deny the State Senate a quorum on Governor Scott Walker's "Budget Repair" legislation which repealed collective bargaining on benefits for public employees. Taylor was a frequent guest on progressive political talk shows, most notably appearing multiple times with MSNBC's Ed Schultz.

During the course of debate in the Joint Committee on Finance and elsewhere, Taylor made statements comparing Walker's proposed legislation to Adolf Hitler's plan to eliminate unions.[2] On her Twitter account she wrote ""LIKE HITLER in 1933, WALKER is busting unions."[3][4]

As a result of her stance on the issue, Taylor (along with seven other Democratic senators) was nominally subject to a recall attempt. However, her opponents were only able to obtain two signatures for her recall, as of April 7.[5] Experts said that since Taylor is in a strongly partisan senate district, she was unlikely to be defeated in a recall election;[6] and in fact no recall petitions were filed.

Taylor has traveled extensively as a part of her growing fame following the 2011 Wisconsin protests, speaking to labor and progressive groups nationwide.

Electoral history[edit]

2004 State Senate primary[edit]

2004 general election for State Senate[edit]

  • Lena Taylor - 99.16% (no challenger)[7]

2008 Race for Milwaukee County Executive[edit]

  • Scott Walker - 59%
  • Lena Taylor - 41%

2008 general election for State Senate[edit]

  • Lena Taylor - 99.81% (no challenger)

2012 general election for State Senate[edit]

  • Lena Taylor - 67,064 (86.62%)
  • David R. King (Rep.) - 10,154 (13.11%)

Personal life[edit]

Taylor and her son live in Milwaukee's Rufus King neighborhood on the same block on which the Senator grew up.

Taylor is a member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, a member of the advisory board for the Milwaukee Boy Scouts, a member of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Alumni Association, and a former member of the Democratic National Committee. Taylor is also involved with the Milwaukee Unity Caucus, the Milawukee Child Welfare Partnership Council, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee AIDS Resource Center, the NAACP, and the Milwaukee Urban League, among others.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gwen Moore
Wisconsin State Senator-4th Senate District
January 2005–present
Incumbent