José Pérez elected president of Milwaukee Common Council

NOW: José Pérez elected president of Milwaukee Common Council

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Six days after Milwaukee's first Black mayor was sworn into office, the Milwaukee Common Council elected its first Latino president.

During a virtual meeting Tuesday, April 19, 12th District Alderman José Pérez was chosen by his peers to lead the Common Council. The vote was unanimous.

Pérez has represented the south side district for the past 10 years.

"Thank you for sharing your thoughts and listening to me so many times. It doesn't stop today. Serving in this position is impossible without us being together. We won't always agree, but I promise you we will talk and we will agree to disagree sometimes. And I will always listen," said Pérez.

Pérez was the only alderman nominated. His name was submitted by fellow south side alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.

"I'm very proud," Zamarripa told CBS 58 after the vote. "It's just a great day, a historic day for the city of Milwaukee."

The 8th district alder said she looks forward to Perez's leadership.

"I see him reaching across communities, certainly he's a leader in the Latino community but he wants to represent every single Milwaukeean to his utmost ability and I have every faith in him that he will absolutely do that," Zamarripa said.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson -- who just last week was sworn in as the city's first elected Black mayor -- released the following statement:

“I congratulate new Common Council President José Pérez on his election. I have great respect for his work as an Alderperson, and I look forward to collaborating with him to make all of Milwaukee safer and stronger.”

Praise and support for Pérez extended beyond City Hall.

"This isn't a position that he came to simply because he was Hispanic," Forward Latino President Darryl Morin said. "No, he is in the position he is in now because of his capacity and his ability to get things done and to address problems and implement solutions."

Voces de la Frontera said Pérez not only represents a step forward for demographic representation but also for advancement of policy goals for the Latino community.

"He's someone who's always been shoulder to shoulder, whether in the fight for immigrant rights, economic justice, racial justice," Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz said. "It's a wonderful thing, wonderful development for the city of Milwaukee."

Mayor Johnson released the following statement: 

“I congratulate new Common Council President José Pérez on his election. I have great respect for his work as an Alderperson, and I look forward to collaborating with him to make all of Milwaukee safer and stronger.”
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