Newly-elected mayor Cavalier Johnson talks historical significance and policy goals

NOW: Newly-elected mayor Cavalier Johnson talks historical significance and policy goals

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Newly-elected Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson is already looking ahead to what he wants to accomplish while in office, and what will be required to get it done.

The city's 45th mayor spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon after his historic win Tuesday.

Some of Johnson's agenda will be easier to move on now that he's won election to the office, but other plans will depend on his relationships with the common council and state lawmakers.

Johnson said, "My approach is certainly going to be collaborative, but I'm also going to expect results, and I'm going to expect accountability."

And that begins now. Johnson said it was exhilarating when the outcome was decided Tuesday night, but Wednesday morning it was back to the task at hand.

Johnson wants lawmakers at the statehouse to help fund programs that will cut down on gun violence. So Wednesday he started making calls to -in his words- repair relationships.

Johnson said, "The relationship-building will take some time, but I am willing, I am able to make the time to build those relationships. It's too important to the future of the city to not do it."

And Johnson admitted some healing still has to happen at home, within the common council, with some Black aldermen especially. He did not receive an endorsement from any Black council members.

Johnson said, "Whether it's somebody I've had disagreements with in the past, that doesn't matter to me. I want to work to make sure we're doing what's best for Milwaukee, even if it comes from those Alders, too."

Johnson says some results will take time, like redesigning roads to cut down on reckless driving.

But others will be obvious, like new jobs at Milwaukee Tool and construction starting on the Couture building. Johnson said, "Those are things people will look and say and feel, and say we've had an impact. The Johnson administration has had an impact over the course of these next two years."

And Johnson spoke at length about the significance of being the city's first Black elected mayor, recalling when he spoke with a 9-year-old boy on election night. "It says to young people that look like him, young people that look like me, in those same challenged neighborhoods I grew up in, that in Milwaukee there's an opportunity for you, too."

Cavalier Johnson will now serve out the remaining two years of Tom Barrett's term. An inaugural ceremony is tentatively planned for Wednesday, April 13.

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