By Steve Waring
Special to The Milwaukee Times
Alderman Willie C. Wade said he will not seek re-election to the Milwaukee Common Council 7th District in a press conference held December 1 at Gee’s Clippers, 4327 W. Fond du Lac Ave. He also introduced Milwaukee Common Council Supervisor Khalif Rainey, endorsing him as his successor.
“I’m proud of my legacy in the 7th district,” Alderman Wade said. “It takes an experienced person to keep that momentum going forward.” Supervisor Rainey is the right person for the job, Alderman Wade added.
There were just a few questions initially from the media after the brief announcement which included Supervisor Rainey thanking Alderman Wade for his service and his endorsement. In a brief one-on-one interview with The Milwaukee Times, Supervisor Rainey said the City of Milwaukee would remain “where my passion lies,” but he said public service at the county level meant less interference from state government-imposed limitations on city government.
Supervisor Rainey said he was especially eager to ensure that the Office of African American Affairs and the minority impact statement, two pieces of legislation he helped sponsor and which Supervisor Rainey said will require oversight from the Common Council if they are to succeed.
When asked what he planned to do after his term expires in April 2016, Alderman Wade briefly became emotional as he said that his children had grown up “with me as a leader in the community and there were times when I wasn’t able to be there for them,” he said. “I want to dedicate time to my family before my daughter heads off to college.”
As reporters began filing out, the questions started to come more rapidly. Alderman Wade said he had waited to make the announcement not to run again until now because it would save the city $100,000 that it would cost to hold a special election.
First elected to the council in April 2003, Alderman Wade is currently the longest serving African American member of the 15-member council. His district is defined for the most part by N. 27th St. to the east, N. 60th St. to the west, W. Locust St. to the south and W. Hampton Ave. to the north.
He said one of his his proudest accomplishment in office was helping to secure $2.17 million in funding to prevent sewage backups for 449 vulnerable residences within his district. In 2010, 280 residences in the 7th district were inundated with raw sewage during a torrential rainstorm on July 22.
Alderman Wade served as a member of the board which oversees the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. His biography states that he has helped attract more than $100 million worth of investment to his district during his time in office.