Wisconsin Lawmaker Suggests State Would Thrive If It Weren’t for Blacks

Sheryl Estrada, Diversity Inc, January 11, 2016

A Wisconsin state lawmaker released a statement on Wednesday titled  “Murder, Mayhem and Jobs,” in which he essentially blames Milwaukee’s Black residents for the state’s woes.

Amidst the recent news that Wisconsin’s workforce development agency said it received notices of more than 10,100 layoffs in 2015, the highest amount since Gov. Scott Walker took office five years ago, Republican Rep. Bob Gannon penned a press releasing addressing Democrats. He said Milwaukee is “the anchor holding back the ship of state as far as jobs [are] concerned.” Of last year’s layoff notices, 37 percent came out of the Milwaukee area.

He attributes the layoffs to the surge in gun violence in the city, which has a Democratic mayor, and unemployed Black residents, instead of anything having to do with state government.

Gannon wrote:

Milwaukee finished the year with an unemployment rate of approximately twenty percent for their Black population. This is almost four times as high as the white unemployment rate for the city and the state. This means that Milwaukee leads in murders and mayhem per capita, with a large number of these crimes occurring in mainly Black neighborhoods, the same neighborhoods with the worst unemployment rates in the state. Could one make a connection between employment opportunities and the level of crime on those same streets? What employer will build or expand when they fear muggings, carjackings, attempted murder, or other serious criminal threats to their employees? One cannot ignore the correlation between jobs and crime, employment opportunities will only expand in these neighborhoods when the violence is stopped.

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Perhaps instead of blaming Blacks for Milwaukee’s downfall, Gannon should take a look at the city’s public education system. Its disproportionate suspension of Black students is off the charts.

From 2011-2012, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) posted an average high school suspension rate of 33 percent, which is more than three times the national average of 10 percent. The district suspended 43 percent of Black students, 18 percent of Latino students and 16 percent of white students.

According to state data, from 2012-2013, MPS suspended 26 percent of Black high school students. From 2007-2008, a shockingly large number of Black students were suspended–56 percent.

In addition, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee report released in 2013 found Wisconsin actually has the highest incarceration rates for Black men in the United States. The report states “records show incarceration rates at epidemic levels for African American males in Milwaukee County. Over half of African American men in their 30s and half of men in their early 40s have been incarcerated in state correctional facilities.”

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[Editor’s Note: Below is Rep. Gannon’s full statement.]

As democrats statewide compose their year end propaganda blaming republicans for every malady known by man, they need to be honest about job creation. Milwaukee is ranked the sixth highest city nationally in per capita murders by Forbes, which makes it obvious that our largest urban center, is the anchor holding back the ship of state as far as jobs is concerned. Milwaukee finished the year with over one hundred and fifty murders and over seven hundred others injured in shootings.

Milwaukee finished the year with an unemployment rate of approximately twenty percent for their black population. This is almost four times as high as the white unemployment rate for the city and the state. This means that Milwaukee leads in murders and mayhem per capita, with a large number of these crimes occurring in mainly black neighborhoods, the same neighborhoods with the worst unemployment rates in the state.

Could one make a connection between employment opportunities and the level of crime on those same streets? What employer will build or expand when they fear muggings, carjackings, attempted murder, or other serious criminal threats to their employees? One cannot ignore the correlation between jobs and crime, employment opportunities will only expand in these neighborhoods when the violence is stopped.

Milwaukee has a democrat mayor, whose focus is a tiny trolley that will chug along in the more affluent and safer areas of the city. Milwaukee County has a democrat district attorney focused on a personal vendetta against our governor, a vendetta that’s been laughed out of multiple courts for having no legal standing, while ignoring the crime on the streets.

The state’s economic numbers, including job development and unemployment rates, would certainly be significantly improved if only our largest city would clean up the murder and mayhem on their streets.

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