'Milwaukee is headed in the right direction:' Mayor Tom Barrett delivers State of the City Address

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett delivered his annual State of the City Address Monday morning, Feb. 10 -- his 16th message to Milwaukee since he was elected the city's 40th mayor in 2004. It comes just eight days before the primary election for mayor of the city. 

Mayor Barrett started his speech talking about the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) coming to Milwaukee. It was actually minutes after last year's State of the City Address that we learned the DNC chose Milwaukee. 

"We're starting to get the attention we deserve because special things are happening in Milwaukee," Barrett said.

Barrett talked about the city's problem with opioids and inequality and rising property taxes. But he also mentioned that all major crime categories are down, an increase of 20,000 workers in Milwaukee over the last ten years, and progress in reducing lead poisoning in children. 

Barrett also mentioned things to come, like a $100,000 donation from We Energies to sponsor the streetcar for DNC operations, and tours of Fiserv Forum for city residents to see how they're preparing for the DNC. 

Barrett also read a series of national headlines telling people to visit Milwaukee. 

"Milwaukee is headed in the right direction with a solid economy, a vibrant culture, and residents who are engaged in making our community an even better place. This progress we've made is impressive. And there's more we can do. 2020 is a year to roll up our sleeves," Mayor Barrett said. 

The address took place at 8:30 a.m. at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

This comes just eight days before Barrett will square off with challengers in the Milwaukee mayoral primary. Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski and State Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, will look to unseat him. Both said Barrett's policies are only helping parts of the city.

"Milwaukee has the fourth highest rate of children living in poverty in the whole country," Zielinski said. "According to 24/7 Wall St. Milwaukee is the absolute worst place to live in the entire country if you're African American."

"We need new leadership," Taylor said. "We need a leadership that looks at the city across the board and is honest with the people, and not afraid to come and speak with the people."

Barrett responded to that criticism saying he tries to unify the city, and that Milwaukee is only successful when all its neighborhoods are successful.

"And that's why I put such a focus on neighborhoods, why I put such a focus on trying to get more jobs into neighborhoods, why I try to focus on getting better housing in the neighborhoods. It's something that I've worked on for a long time, and I'm going to continue to do that."

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