Milwaukee mayoral candidate Cavalier Johnson wants to focus on improving economic opportunities for Milwaukee families, which he says would also help address major issues such as violent crime and racial disparities.

In a interview, Johnson, who was became acting mayor in December after former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stepped down to take on his new role as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, said he wants to bring manufacturing jobs back and increase the number of tech-related jobs. Johnson said improving economic opportunities would help address housing, violent crime, reckless driving and historic segregation issues.

“You can’t address the racial inequality and the racial dynamics that we have in the city unless people have access again to family-supporting work,” the 35 year-old from Milwaukee’s north side said. “You can say ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ but in order to get that tide to rise, folks need access; they need a boat, they need an oar.”

To address increases in reckless driving, Johnson said he wants to implement a plan involving safe street design, traffic enforcement, accountability, neighborhood engagement and demanding progress.

“It’s important that we implement all parts of that strategy in order to have safer roadways, not just for motorists, but for other folks as well,” he said.

Building cities around the people who live in them rather than around car ownership is key to addressing the issue, he added.

Johnson also said the city’s street car system should be expanded to serve communities outside of downtown and the east side. He wants the route to expand to Bronzeville, the north side, the south side, the airport and UW-Milwaukee, among other areas.

“I’d like to have extensions of the street car,” he said. “I’d like to start at those places and then see about the possibility to expand it beyond that, but I think having it be downtown and downtown alone is not the answer, it never was, it was always supposed to be extended.”

Listen to the interview here.

See more on the Milwaukee mayoral race at the Milwaukee Mayoral Race page.

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