Marquette graduate runs for Milwaukee mayor

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Marquette graduate runs for Milwaukee mayor

Rasky is focusing on education, among other issues in his campaign. 

Photo courtesy of Paul Rasky

Rasky is focusing on education, among other issues in his campaign. Photo courtesy of Paul Rasky

Rasky is focusing on education, among other issues in his campaign. Photo courtesy of Paul Rasky

Rasky is focusing on education, among other issues in his campaign. Photo courtesy of Paul Rasky

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Independent candidate Paul Rasky is running for Milwaukee mayor in the 2020 election.

Rasky is a 1983 Marquette University graduate from the College of Engineering. He also has a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Rasky is from Milwaukee and went to elementary school in the city. He suspects he has had family here since the 1800s. 

Rasky declared his candidacy for mayor formally through needed paperwork March 9, 2017. He said he had been discussing it on social media beforehand.

“I wanted to … chip away at things and go piece by piece,” he said.

By this, he meant he wants to go through each aldermanic district and introduce himself to various areas of Milwaukee. He is continuing to do this through December.

Although Rasky is an independent candidate, he has worked for both Republican and Democratic campaigns in the past.

A primary issue Rasky focuses on in his campaign is education. He said he feels education is a foundational issue and “the base on which everything else comes from.”

He said he wants to make it easier for teachers to do their jobs and for students to learn.

“You can have the best supportive structures, you can have all the social programs, you can have everything else working perfectly, but if you don’t have people in a position where they are able to capitalize on that, it’s going to be difficult to realize the return,” Rasky said. 

Rasky said it isn’t as simple as having a great program at a public school. He said children often enter school with familial and other problems that affect their abilities to learn. 

“I think we have some amazing schools in the area that are private,” Rasky said. “I want to see (Milwaukee Public Schools) be one of the best as well, and I think they can be.”

At MPS, 15% of students are proficient in English while 12% are proficient in math, according to a district report card.

Other candidates have similarly said education is a primary point of concern, including Wisconsin Sen. Lena Taylor and Bayview Ald. Tony Zielinski. 

Rasky said he is concerned about day care in Milwaukee, which many city residents rely on.

Due to the expense of day care, Rasky put together a plan in order to improve the issue in Milwaukee. This is part of his goal to better support families.

Rasky added that he wants to put Milwaukee on a sustainable tax path, which he said partially means lowering taxes. He said he feels it is possible to reduce taxes in the city without impacting city services and city employees. 

Another issue Rasky is concerned about is Milwaukee’s security profile. He said he wants citizens to feel safe in all areas of the city. 

Part of Rasky’s plan if he becomes mayor is to bring his ideas to action in a sequential manner. He said he wants to focus on education first.

Rasky helped with Zielinski’s campaign when he was running for alderman. Although Zielinski did not talk much with Rasky personally, he said Rasky is a nice guy.

Rasky does not have a website, but he has a Facebook page: “Elect or Appoint Paul Rasky.” According to the page, Rasky is also running for alderman for the 14th District of Milwaukee.

Rasky also feels it is important to make things work well for all Milwaukee citizens while creating the least amount of blowback, which he believes is the unintended result of political action.

“It’s a job that I want to do because I think I can do it very well and I can make it easier for you to do whatever it is you’re doing and it just multiplies,” he said.

Rasky does not have anybody else working on the campaign with him.

Red Arnold, a former candidate for Wisconsin state senator in the 7th district and friend of Rasky, did not respond to a request for an interview.

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

This story was written by Annie Mattea. She can be reached at anne.mattea@marquette.edu. 

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