Tom Barrett (politician)

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Tom Barrett
Tom Barrett (politician).jpg
40th Mayor of Milwaukee
Incumbent
Assumed office
April 15, 2004
Preceded by Marvin Pratt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Jim Moody
Succeeded by Jim Sensenbrenner
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 5th district
In office
December 13, 1989 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Mordecai Lee
Succeeded by Peggy Rosenzweig
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 14th district
In office
March 5, 1984 – December 13, 1989
Preceded by Thomas Crawford
Succeeded by David Cullen
Personal details
Born (1953-12-08) December 8, 1953 (age 60)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Kris Barrett[1]
Children Tommy
Annie
Erin
Kate
Alma mater University of Wisconsin, Madison
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Campaign website

Thomas Mark "Tom" Barrett (born December 8, 1953) is an American politician and the 40th[2] and current Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serving since 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party and has served in a number of positions, including: the Wisconsin State Assembly, the Wisconsin State Senate, and the United States House of Representatives from Wisconsin's 5th congressional district.

He ran for the Governor of Wisconsin in 2010 and in the 2012 recall election, losing to Republican Scott Walker both times.[3]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Barrett is the oldest son of Thomas J. and Gertrude V. Barrett. His father was a World War II veteran who was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross award in 1944 for 30 missions over Germany as a navigator. His mother was a war widow when she met his father at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They married and moved to Milwaukee where Barrett was born.[4] He grew up on the city's west side.[1]

Barrett graduated from Marquette University High School,[5] and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976; and his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1980. He helped put himself through college and law school by working on the Harley-Davidson assembly line. After law school, Barrett served as a law clerk for Judge Robert W. Warren on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin from 1980 to 1982. He later entered into private practice and served as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.[6]

State Assembly and Senate[edit]

Barrett made his first run for office at the age of 28 for the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1982, but was unsuccessful. He ran again in 1984, this time successfully,[7] and served two terms before making a successful run for the Wisconsin State Senate in a December 1989 special election.[8][9] He continued to serve in the State Senate until moving to higher office in 1993.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Barrett in 1993

In 1992, after Congressman Jim Moody announced his intention to run for the United States Senate, Barrett successfully ran to succeed him. Barrett was reelected four more times to represent Wisconsin's 5th congressional district.[11]

While in Congress, Barrett served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as the Government Reform Committee, Financial Services Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and the House Administration Committee.[12]

As a Congressman, Barrett worked with his colleagues to secure aid for flood remediation projects in his district. He also worked to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act, and frequently voiced his support of Milwaukee's Midwest Express Airlines.[13]

Barrett sponsored 37 bills and co-sponsored 1345 bills between January 5, 1993 and October 10, 2002.[14] Barrett was a delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin.[15]

Mayor of Milwaukee[edit]

In 2004, Barrett ran successfully for Mayor of Milwaukee, defeating incumbent Mayor Marvin Pratt, who took office following the resignation of John Norquist. Barrett was re-elected in 2008 with 79% of the vote, the largest percentage a Mayoral candidate had received in 40 years.[16] In 2012 he was subsequently re-elected against challenger Edward McDonald with over 70% of the vote.[17]

On February 25, 2009, Barrett gave his State of the City Address. Where he praised the city's past achievements, and outlined his plan to increase green jobs, economic development and workforce training in the coming year. Barrett called on the citizens of Milwaukee to remain optimistic during the international economic downturn; "I am fully confident that Milwaukee will withstand the current economic downturn," Barrett said. "We will make smart investments, continue to build strong partnerships, provide training to our workforce and improve our public schools. We will emerge as a stronger and more competitive city."[18]

Barrett met with Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and testified before the United States House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment when he traveled to Washington, D.C. on March 18, 2009. Barrett attended a White House Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation Conference hosted by Biden. The conference addressed questions from state, county, and local government officials on how to effectively oversee the spending of Recovery Act funds.[18]

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and Mayor Tom Barrett, joined by Superintendent of Public Instruction of Wisconsin Elizabeth Burmaster, announced a broad effort improve the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The announcement followed the completion of a comprehensive independent review of the finances and non-instructional operations of MPS commissioned by the Governor and Mayor in October, 2008.[19]

In 2013, he was one of nine mayors who established July 15 as Social Media Giving Day, encouraging citizens to support charities via social media.[20]

Gubernatorial bids[edit]

2002[edit]

After the 2000 census determined that Wisconsin would lose a congressional seat, redistricting combined Barrett's district with fellow Democrat Jerry Kleczka's 4th district. Rather than run in a primary against his colleague, Barrett decided to run for Governor in 2002. In a heated Democratic primary, Barrett came in a close second to then-Attorney General Jim Doyle, who went on to win the general election.[21]

2010[edit]

Barrett speaks with a Wisconsin dairy farmer

In August 2009, Doyle announced his decision to not seek reelection to a third term in 2010, leading many to believe Barrett would run for Governor.[22] On August 25, a group named "Wisconsin for Tom Barrett" formed, encouraging Barrett to run.[23] On October 26, a website, TomForGovernor.com, was launched after Barbara Lawton, the Lieutenant Governor, backed out.[24] A story in The Politico reported that President Barack Obama's political director Patrick Gaspard met with Barrett on November 4, 2009, amid speculation that the White House wanted him to run for Governor of Wisconsin.[25]

Barrett ended months of speculation by officially announcing on November 15, 2009, that he would enter the race for Governor.[3] Barrett's campaign raised more than $750,000 in its first seven weeks. In an e-mail thanking supporters, Barrett said his campaign had more than $1.5 million in the bank, a significant start given that he did not declare candidacy for the Democratic primary until November 15, 2009.[26] Barrett ultimately lost the election to Scott Walker.[27]

In a survey of 768 Wisconsin voters conducted between February 24–27, 2011, during the 2011 Wisconsin budget protests, a poll by Public Policy Polling found that 52% of respondents said they would vote for Barrett if the election had been held then, while 45% said they would vote for Walker.[28][29]

2012 recall election[edit]

After the contentious collective bargaining dispute,[30] Walker's disapproval ratings varied between 50–51%, while his approval ratings varied between 47–49% in 2011.[31][32] Wisconsin law made Walker eligible for recall beginning January 3, 2012, and the Wisconsin Democratic Party has called it a "priority" to remove him from office.

Barrett ended months of speculation by officially announcing on March 30, 2012, the day that the recall petitions were approved by the state and the recall elections were certified, that he would enter the race for Governor.[33] The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, which already supported another Democrat who had announced before recall elections were certified, had met with Barrett in late December 2011 and tried unsuccessfully to keep him from entering the race.[34] On May 8, Barrett won the Democratic primary for the recall election.[35]

A Marquette Law School Poll released on May 30th (mirroring other polling outlets) had Barrett trailing Walker 52-45% among likely voters. The results represent a six-point increase for Walker over Barrett since Marquette's earlier poll in late April. The poll's margin of error for likely voters was plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.[36] Odysseas, a contributor to the progressive blog Daily Kos, had questioned if the Marquette University Law school poll oversampled "right wingers." For example, a poll by Public Policy Polling conducted May 11th-13th gave Republicans a 7% edge over Democrats in terms of likely voters, unlikely given Wisconsin voter registration patterns. However in retrospect the Marquette poll accurately reflected the Wisconsin electorate's vote.[37][38] However, the same poll showed President Obama holding a lead over Mitt Romney 51-43. On May 21st, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel endorsed Scott Walker over Barrett arguing "[there is] no reason to remove Walker from office." The Journal-Sentinel had previously endorsed Walker over Barrett in 2010. [39] Walker defeated Barrett in the June 5 recall election by garnering 53.2%-46.3%,[40] a greater victory margin than the 2010 election. Walker thus became the first Governor in US history to survive a recall election.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Barrett and his wife live in Milwaukee's Washington Heights neighborhood with their four children.[1]

2009 Wisconsin State Fair attack[edit]

Barrett was the subject of national news headlines when he was attacked outside the Wisconsin State Fair on August 15, 2009, by a man wielding a pipe. Barrett and some family members were leaving the fair when he responded to a woman's cries for help. They encountered a man and a woman in a heated confrontation and, while the mayor called police, the man, 20-year-old Anthony J. Peters, attacked him with a pipe. Barrett was hospitalized after the incident and again later for reconstructive surgery for his hand.[41] Governor Jim Doyle visited Barrett in the hospital the next morning and said he "found him to be in good spirits and looking good considering what happened... The Mayor's heroic actions clearly saved a woman and others from harm", Doyle said in a statement. Peters was arrested the next day.[41] Both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Barrett in the hospital to inquire as to his condition; Obama told Barrett that he went above the call of duty and said he was proud of Barrett's actions. Barrett's injuries included broken teeth, a permanently damaged hand, and blows to the head where he was struck with the pipe.[42]

Electoral history[edit]

Gubernatorial bids
Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, 2012 (General Election[44])
Winning candidate Party Pct Opponent Party Pct
Scott Walker (inc.) Republican 53% Tom Barrett Democratic 46%
Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, 2012 (Democratic Primary)
Winning candidate Party Pct Opponent Party Pct
Tom Barrett Democratic 58% Kathleen Falk Democratic 34%
Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2010 (General Election)
Winning candidate Party Pct Opponent Party Pct
Scott Walker Republican 52% Tom Barrett Democratic 47%
Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2002 (Democratic Primary)
Winning candidate Party Pct Opponent Party Pct Opponent Party Pct
Jim Doyle Democratic 38% Tom Barrett Democratic 34% Kathleen Falk Democratic 27%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Mayor Barrett's Biography". City of Milwaukee. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mayor Barrett's Biography". City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Lee Bergquist (November 14, 2009). "Barrett says he's healed, ready to run for governor". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  4. ^ Barrett, Tom (October 30, 2010). "Needed: A straight shooter and a real record". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. 
  5. ^ Olson, Drew (July 19, 2007). "Happy B-Day, Hilltoppers: Marquette High turns 150". On Milwaukee. 
  6. ^ Spicuzza, Mary (April 29, 2012). "Tom Barrett: Milwaukee mayor wants to end 'civil war'". Wisconsin State Journal. 
  7. ^ "Members of State Legislature". State of Wisconsin 1985-1986 blue book: Biographies and pictures. p. 31. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  8. ^ David E. Umhoefer (December 13, 1989). "Barrett wins easily in State Senate race". Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Members of the State Legislature". State of Wisconsin 1991-1992 blue book: Biographies and photos. p. 30. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ James B. Nelson (November 4, 1992). "Barrett easily defeats Hammersmith in 5th". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Tom Barrett". NNDB. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ "The House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Welcome". Archives.energycommerce.house.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-12. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Legislation could benefit Midwest Express". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. October 15, 1998. 
  14. ^ "Congressman Tom Barrett - At Work for Wisconsin". Webarchives.loc.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  15. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Index to Politicians: Barre to Barrett". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Mayor Barrett's Biography". city of Milwaukee, Office of the Mayor. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Tom Barrett re-elected as Milwaukee mayor". Associated Press. April 3, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "Mayor Barrett Delivers 2011 State of the City Address". Office of Mayor Tom Barrett. City of Milwaukee. February 21, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Toward a Stronger Milwaukee Public Schools: Message from Governor Jim Doyle and Mayor Tom Barrett". Milwaukee Public Schools. April 2009. 
  20. ^ http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/hey-put-your-twitter-where-your-mouth-is/
  21. ^ Schultze, Steve; Walters, Steven (September 14, 2002). "Mayor, county executive races hold little appeal, Barrett says". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  22. ^ Lee Bergquist, et al. (August 15, 2009). "Doyle won't seek re-election in 2010". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  23. ^ "New Group Supports Tom Barrett For Governor". WISN Milwaukee. August 25, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2011. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Wisconsin Governor Race: 15-year-old Sheboygan Democrat gathers online support for possible Barrett campaign". WITI. Fox6now.com. November 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-12. [dead link]
  25. ^ Alexander Burns and Carol E. Lee (November 15, 2009). "Gaspard, Barrett meet amid 2010 buzz". Politico. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  26. ^ Scott Anderson (2010-01-06). "Barrett's gubernatorial campaign shows financial muscle despite late start". Racine Journal Times. Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  27. ^ Governor's Race: Walker Beats Barrett[dead link]
  28. ^ "Wisconsin Rematch Survey Results February 24–27". Public Policy Polling. Retrieved March 2, 2011. [dead link]
  29. ^ Jon Terbush (February 28, 2011). "Poll: Wisconsin Voters Wouldn't Elect Gov. Walker In Do-Over". TPMDC. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  30. ^ Recall Election Tests Strategies for November April 28, 2012
  31. ^ Marley, Patrick (September 20, 2011). "New poll reflects divide on bargaining limits". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Wisconsin Recall Prospects Dimming". Public Policy Polling. October 26, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Barrett announces run in Wisconsin recall". POLITICO. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  34. ^ "Labor group's pro-Falk TV ads vanish". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  35. ^ a b Bauer, Scott (May 9, 2012). "Milwaukee mayor to face Walker in Wis. Recall". Associated Press. 
  36. ^ "Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker leads Barrett in Wisconsin recall". 
  37. ^ "Scott Walker leads new Wisconsin recall poll". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  38. ^ "Marquette poll on Wisconsin Recall oversampling right wingers?!". 
  39. ^ "We recommend Walker; his removal isn't justified". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  40. ^ Terkel, Amanda (June 5, 2012). "Scott Walker Defeats Tom Barrett In Wisconsin Recall Election (UPDATE)". Huffington Post. 
  41. ^ a b Chuck Johnston. "Arrest made in attack on Milwaukee mayor". CNN. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Barrett lost teeth in battle with suspect". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 17, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  43. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/index.aspx
  44. ^ Election Map 2012: Live Voting Results - POLITICO.com

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Moody
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 5th congressional district

1993–2003
Succeeded by
Jim Sensenbrenner
Political offices
Preceded by
Marvin Pratt
Mayor of Milwaukee
2004–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Doyle
Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin
2010, 2012
Succeeded by
Mary Burke