MILWAUKEE—Milwaukee native, philanthropic leader, and former television journalist, Jerel Ballard, announced today he will be a candidate for Alderman in Milwaukee’s 2nd District in this year’s special election. The seat is vacant and was previously held by Mayor Cavalier Johnson, and Ballard is the first to declare his candidacy. The special election will be held concurrent with the November general election, with a primary to be held in August if there are more than two candidates for the seat.
“As a Milwaukee resident, I know that each neighborhood has its own opportunities and challenges,” said Ballard. “Yet, at the core of this city are vibrant communities that want their neighborhoods to remain safe. Milwaukeeans deserve access to affordable housing, thriving local businesses, and roads that do not constantly need repair.”
Ballard has spent his life advocating for and serving his community through philanthropic engagement and leadership. He is a proud Milwaukee Public Schools graduate of Riverside University High School. Ballard studied political science at George Mason University and earned his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Columbia College Chicago. Ballard worked as a television news reporter and anchor, and then was appointed as the Communication and Marketing Officer for the Milwaukee Police Department, before accepting his current position as Communications Director for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.
“My parents taught me the importance of becoming the change you wish to see in your community,” said Ballard. “Through my education in Milwaukee Public Schools, I learned that diversity is essential and should be celebrated, that those who have open minds can get things done, and that integrity and honesty are required to be a strong leader.”
Ballard founded Milwaukee’s Finest Scholarship Foundation, which provides merit and need-based scholarships to high school seniors throughout Milwaukee. In partnership with local businesses and community leaders, more than $60,000 has been raised for scholarships, and more than 50 students have graduated college or are enrolled to obtain their associate or bachelor’s degrees.
Ballard is also the co-founder of Lead2Change, Inc., a career-readiness organization that engages young people in leadership opportunities and equips them with essential tools to succeed in college, their careers, and the community. In addition, through his work with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Ballard has made recommendations and determined the release of more than $250,000 for service projects throughout Milwaukee.
“We know Milwaukee is a City of Champions. Working along with my future Common Council colleagues, I know I’ll make sound decisions to ensure our district and this city becomes the perfect place to raise a family, start a business, or pursue career opportunities,” said Ballard.