Q&A: County Supervisor Steve Taylor
Franklin alderman now represents the bulk of Oak Creek on the Milwaukee County Board.
It didn't take long after his election as Milwaukee County supervisor for Steve Taylor to start making news.
He was criticized by radio talk show host Mark Belling, who said Taylor would support Marina Dimitrijevic for county board chairman (Taylor ended up voting for Supervisor Pat Jusik) and questioned by Franklin officials over whether he could serve on both the county board and Franklin Common Council.
Taylor, who was sworn in April 16, recently sat down with Oak Creek Patch to talk about those topics and more.
Q: In the immediate few weeks and months, what do you see yourself doing?
The first thing is getting settled in and setting up a schedule. The biggest thing is to reach out to all the elected officials, all the department heads through all three municipalities (Franklin, Oak Creek and Hales Corners) to let them know that the days of calling your county supervisor and not getting a phone call back are over. That’s the biggest thing, is for them to understand that they have someone that they can pick up the phone and call and get answers as quickly as we can.
For too long we had no representation. As a result, this part of the county was kind of neglected, because who from the board was willing to work with our former representative when he wasn’t willing to work with them? Building relationships with other supervisors is extremely important, and also being as visible in the 9th District as possible so people get comfortable with me, just like they did in Franklin.
Q: Explain your vote for county board chairman.
I sat down with all five of them and they made their pitch about why they would make a good chairman. In the end, I thought Jursik had a very, very laid out strategy about how she wanted to serve in that position. She represents a neighboring district. She’s the most moderate of all five of them. And that is why I went with her and I stuck with her until the end, like I said I would.
I would have stuck with her until she dropped out. The last ballot is when she switched her vote to Dimitrijevic and then it was kind of a tidal wave. When it got to me, I was the second to last person to vote, and Dimitrijevic was already at 10 (votes), so she already had it wrapped up. I voted for Jursik like I said I was going to.
Q: Franklin and Hales Corners held advisory referendums asking whether the county board should be reduced, and voters overwhelmingly said it should. Where do you stand on that issue?
I’ve always said it should be downsized but I don’t think cutting it in half is the answer. I think they just wanted to gauge what the opinion would be. It was a nonbinding referendum. Based on my conversations with county board members, there’s no traction to do anything. All of the incumbents who had opponents all voted against the downsizing of the board. All of the incumbents who had opponents were re-elected. It’s one of those things like in D.C., where Congress has a 10% approval rating, but 87% of incumbents get re-elected.
If it comes to the board I’ll vote how my district did, but I don’t see it passing the county board. I think there is a hope that the state Legislature or the governor get involved, but they got their own issues to deal with. And the county has much bigger issues to deal with than this. If all you want to do is focus on this issue, you’re going to waste a lot of your time and that’s why it’s not a focus.
Q: Will you give up your Franklin aldermanic seat?
I haven’t made that decision yet. I said I would make the decision based on if I am able to do both jobs effectively. I’ve done the aldermanic job for four years now. I know exactly what it entails and exactly what the time commitment is. I will tell you that when I campaigned, I had probably almost 100 people, when I was getting signatures or phone calls or e-mails, saying ‘You better not leave or we won’t support you.’ I’ll make the decision that’s in the best interest of the (aldermanic) district and the county as a whole.
Q: You were elected 2nd Vice Chair of the Milwaukee County Board. What does that job entail?
It’s on the leadership team. I know I’ll be a part of agenda setting. Supervisor (Peggy) Romo West was 2nd Vice Chair for the last four years and she told me that she’d go all around the state representing the county and things that (1st Vice Chair Michael) Mayo couldn’t attend. I’ll work closely with her and Dimitrijevic to be a face for the county.
The reason I think they voted for me was for balance – suburban vs. city. You also have five new (supervisors) and out of the five, I’ve been common council president for four years so I have been in leadership (positions) before. So I think there was a comfort level. There’s no salary bump or anything like that, but there’s going to be some additional responsibilities that I’m going to take on.
Q: Where do you stand on the proposed Lake Parkway extension?
Now that I’ve been elected, I’ll spend some time with Supervisor Jursik to get caught up to speed on exactly where we’re at it. It looks like it’s going to be a very good economic opportunity for that area. You’re going to have some residential concerns and we have to make sure we address those, but obviously any time you could do something to help bring economic development, increase the tax base, create jobs, that’s a very, very good proposal.
Residents can contact Taylor at (414) 278-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.