Marquette student Justin Moralez elected as alderman

Photo courtesy of Justin Moralez
Photo courtesy of Justin Moralez

Justin Moralez, a junior majoring in communication and political science and the promotions director at The Rave, was elected Alderman for Cudahy’s first district in the April 1 election. He recently sat down with the Tribune to talk about his experiences in the entertainment business, as a student and now as a politician.

Marquette Tribune: What were your motivations for running for alderman?

Justin Moralez: I have always had an inherent interest in politics. After purchasing a home in the area several years ago and seeing the community struggling, I wanted to get more involved and try to make a difference. I felt it was the right time, and with it being a three-year term, I figured if I don’t do it now I have to wait that much longer.

MT: What are some of the goals you want to achieve as alderman?

JM: Well certainly economic development is a key focus, but I’m also big on cultural initiatives. I believe these will play a critical role in redeveloping the Cudahy area. Most people consider the city to be the Rust Belt of Milwaukee. Unfortunately though, with manufacturing declining, it has left the city at a bit of an impasse. Bay View, our neighbor to the north, has seen substantial growth over the years, and I’d like to work in correlation with them to continually enhance the entire South Shore area.

MT: Could you describe your campaign experience? How did people react to such a young candidate?

JM: It has certainly been a memorable experience and could not have been possible without the support and hard work of the family, friends and support staff around me. My opportunity as a student here at MU also played an instrumental role in the organizational process.

When I made the decision to run, I emailed Dr. Julia Azari, who pointed me in the direction of a couple students she had in the past. Through them and with some additional networking, I met Pat Garrett. He works (for) the College Republicans and is a regular staffer on campaigns throughout the state. Together we laid out a highly organized campaign that is not usually seen at a local level.

This strong outreach led to the community really embracing (me) as a young candidate with fresh ideas.  Through knocking on doors and talking to those in the community, and with a well built website, social networking and even a mobile app, we were able to deliver a concise message and be more accessible to the constituents.

This ultimately was the key to our success and solidified the process as one that combined both lessons from the classroom and real-life experience.

MT: What classes have you taken or decided to take that will help you out as alderman?

JM: When I choose my classes, I try to pick those that will pertain to my ultimate career goals, but I have found that even those that might not seem relevant at the time may prove beneficial in the future. In particular, I found the math and statistics classes to be tedious and exhausting, but as a member of the Finance Committee, which oversees a multimillion dollar budget, I am glad I have had that experience.

MT: Could you describe your job and experience working at The Rave?

JM: It can be seen as nothing less than a dream job. While the hours may be long at times and the pressure to produce is constant, I am truly lucky for the opportunity to work at such a great place.

MT: What work have you done with bands?

JM: I work with a lot of local bands, and to see their passion and dedication to music is really pretty special. They are untainted by some of the trappings of the music business and just happy to be a part of the process.  Don’t get me wrong though; the magic provided by the legendary acts that come through here is really what makes The Rave the best concert venue in the country. I can’t say enough how lucky I am to be a part of that entire process and how strongly I recommend all MU students to get down the road to check out a show.

MT: Could you give some advice to students on time management?

JM: It’s very challenging, but ultimately it is just trying to balance your time and not falling too far behind. Even though going into the final week of my campaign there was a lot of pressure, I still had to study for an upcoming test. I was waiting for results and studying flashcards at the same time for a history test. Being prepared is far less stressful than having to scramble to make up for lost time.

MT: What are your future aspirations?

JM: While I’m not youngest person elected in Wisconsin by any means, there are only a handful of people in their twenties, so I find myself in a unique opportunity to offer a perspective of those who are often overlooked. Right now, I am committed to working for those who elected me and producing quantifiable results. I hope to continue to do so for the years to come.