Wauwatosa voters poised to elect first Black woman to common council

February 17, 2022

Web Photo

Margaret Arney (pictured above) is shattering a centuries-old glass ceiling in Wauwatosa this election season.

The District 2 candidate for alderperson is running unopposed, making her poised to become the first Black person on Wauwatosa’s Common Council in its 100-year history.

She is a proud graduate of Rufus King High School and Harvard University.

Arney said growing up as a biracial woman in Milwaukee opened her eyes to some of the same racial disparities that exist today.

“I grew up crossing the color line on the bus,” she said. “The bus would start off all white in my Eastside neighborhood, go all Black to my school, then go back to all white. It wasn’t until I went to college… it was a whole different world. I was like ‘wow other places don’t have this color line’.”

Arney said that’s when the seed of service was planted.

“I wanted to be part of my hometown growing past and leaving behind the color line,” she said. “I want my daughter in my descendant’s world not to have a color line. We don’t need it, we never needed it and we need to say goodbye to it.”

Arney has been heavily involved in the community for years.

She’s served as President of the Wauwatosa Neighborhood Association Council and on the Wauwatosa Senior Commission.

Arney currently serves as the vice chair of the Wauwatosa Equity and Inclusion Commission. “Good public policy does not come from a place of fear,” she said.

“Good public policy comes from a place of understanding assets and working together and rising to our highest capability.”

Arney said one of her main priorities as alderperson will be to listen and to promote inclusion.

“To me inclusion is a big value and is something that is becoming more and more deeply aware of in my own self. It’s a big deal to be inclusive” she said. “The LGBTQ community, people who are immigrants, refugees, people with language barriers… there is not just one story.”

Arney hopes she is not the only person making history after the Spring election.

Two candidates running in different districts could also join Arney as the first Black representative on the common council.

In District 5, Sean Lowe who currently serves as the chair of Wauwatosa’s Equity and Inclusion Commission is running against incumbent Rob Gustafson.

In District 8, John Larry is running against Melissa Dolan.

Those seats will be decided by voters on April 5.