Current Wisconsin state senator runs for mayor


Lena Taylor (center) speaks to constituents. Photo courtesy of Solana Patterson-Ramos

Lena Taylor, a current Wisconsin state senator, is running in the upcoming 2020 Milwaukee mayoral election. 

She is currently serving her fourth term in the Senate and represents the 4th Senate District, which includes the Village of Shorewood, portions of Wauwatosa, Glendale and the north and northwestern portions of the City of Milwaukee, according to her website

Taylor said that while she wanted to transition from senator to mayor for a number of reasons, her connection to the people was her primary one.

“Transforming all of Milwaukee, we are more than downtown. We are our neighborhoods, and our people deserve neighborhoods with bright futures,” Taylor said. 

Taylor grew up in Milwaukee and comes from a family of entrepreneurs and business owners. She said she saw the crime that was being manipulated by law enforcement at the time, which inspired her to clean up what was wrong.

She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and majored in electrical engineering, later switching to English when she realized she did not like calculus. 

She then went to Southern Illinois University to get a law degree.

“I left thinking I was not coming back to Milwaukee and I was going to rid the world of racism … I learned that ‘isms’ exist everywhere and either you are part of the solution or part of the problem,” Taylor said.

The Milwaukee native came back to her home city and currently lives in the same neighborhood that she grew up in, according to her website.

“This is home … I know the people who are at 4039 N 16th Street and the people at 4039 N 14th Street because I have known them for 50 plus years,” Taylor said.

She said that education in general is one of the areas she is most proud of as a senator.

She said one of her favorite parts of serving in her current position has been visiting schools and talking to students about the importance of being engaged with officials.

Similarly, as a senator she also appreciated the accountability measures that were put into place for the private schools of Milwaukee that accept vouchers.

“I believe that really it is the pathway out of poverty … you can learn something and put it in your brain and nobody can really take that from you,” Taylor said.

The senator is the second African-American woman to serve in the state Senate, according to her website

Taylor said growing up, she never got the opportunity to meet a State Senator. This is one of the reasons why she enjoys visiting schools so much, because the students can see someone who looks like them in a high position.

“I can tell them that they can be better than me. They can do more than me. It means so much,” Taylor said.

Solana Patterson-Ramos is the campaign coordinator on Taylor’s mayoral campaign. She said she guides volunteers, runs social media and digital marketing aspects and helps with interns and other things that are needed.

She also said that one of her favorite parts about working on the campaign is learning more about the city policy and talking to people.

“Hearing their stories about Lena … is just really sometimes the best part of the whole campaign,” Patterson-Ramos said.

Taylor said her mayoral campaign slogan is “of the people for the people,” because the mayor’s job is about serving the people.

“We deserve a leader who has heart for the people, heart for the city, has vision for innovative ways to create change,” Taylor said.

This article is part of a Marquette Wire series featuring the candidates for Milwaukee’s 2020 mayoral election.

This story was written by Kate Hyland. She can be reached at

The original version of this article stated Taylor knew people on 4039 N 16th Street and people at 4039 N 14th Street for 15 plus years. In reality, she has known them for 50 plus years. The Tribune regrets this error.