Businessman Michael Sampson says he would look to Madison leaders for examples of how to increase Milwaukee’s population, businesses and available jobs if he becomes mayor.

The 38-year-old owner of event planning company Swarmm in a interview said he wants to look at how Madison attracts new residents and businesses while retaining the college graduates who earned their degrees in the city. He said he wants to use those insights to help Milwaukee see the same kind of growth as places like Nashville, Tenn., and Madison and rejuvenate areas with a lack of resources such as Milwaukee’s north side. 

With much of Milwaukee’s old industrial jobs gone, many middle-class Milwaukeeans have been left without a reliable source of income to make ends meet for decades. Sampson said he wants to bring jobs back to the north side to reduce the historic racial inequality in the city. 

“It’s really just focusing on development and business development on the north side,” he said. “We have to find a way to get more small business, more restaurants or bars. In the 70s, manufacturing jobs left Milwaukee and we’ve never replaced them.”

Sampson also said he wants to look at growing cities for inspiration on how to help Milwaukee grow too. 

“We’ve got to keep people in the city, we’ve got to retain talent after college, we’ve got to bring talent here,” he said. “I think Madison has done a good job at that with a company like Epic that has brought a lot of talent to the city of Madison. And Madison’s always on the list of nicest places to live, so Milwaukee has to get to that point.” 

And he wants to make sure kids stay in school, open more juvenile detention centers, impose tougher sentencing and hold parents accountable to combat rising car thefts.

“The Kia boys have got to be figured out,” he said. “They can’t be flaunting around online and on Reddit and Instagram accounts without some repercussions on things. The parents need to be held accountable and step up and do some things as well.” 

Sampson said he would sit down with police officials to figure out how to address the rise in violent crime on day one if he becomes the next mayor. He added he wants to help police increase the number of violent crimes investigations they solve. 

“I know some of the solving rate was low last year compared to previous years; compared to other years,” he said. “So is that a distrust in the community for the police? Are the police doing their job to the full potential? There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered.” 

Listen to the interview here.

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

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