Meet Milwaukee Mayoral Candidate James Methu
“Who are you?”
Milwaukee communities have developed a default response to the 30-year-old Milwaukee native. Walking through inner-city neighborhoods, like Garden Homes on the north side of town, the 6-foot tall man introduces himself to people door-to-door, as he crosses them in the street, his hand extended for a handshake.
“My name is James Methu, and I’m running to be the next mayor of Milwaukee,” he said in his gentle, yet eager tone, his breath visible in the below-twenty-degree January air.
Truly engaged with all people in our city, his presence is refreshing, as are his ideas for Milwaukee’s future.
“This is going to take a collaborative approach,” Methu said. “I just want to be a vessel.
“I’m not here to wave a wand from a white horse. I have a lot of great ideas that I think can work. But I want to collaborate with thought leaders, bring in different cultures of our city.
“I will have to take strong stances on what’s going on in our community. But that does not mean I don’t support uniting everyone. We have to put our hands on the problems.”
Born to an African father and African American mother into the north side of Milwaukee, the densest African American population in the state, Methu has experienced many challenges, notably in his education.
Methu attended both Marshall, in the Milwaukee Public Schools system, and Messmer, a private school in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program for high school.
“Whether it was our basketball gym, one of the best in the state, or whether it was our books — we had all of our school books …” he said.
“The instant change was the environment.”
But that brought resentment among MPS kids, and these problems have persisted since he graduated from Messmer High School more than a decade ago, he said.
Methu likens his story to the Pulaski-Carmen situation on the south side, where he says the public school students cannot open windows and most classes are short on books as Carmen students enjoy a high-class education. Methu said the only difference he noticed at Messmer was a self-esteem boost.
“These kids are in poverty. Yet we just keep shuffling them around, and all they need is the best shot and not getting it,” he said.
“I love my city. I lost my last job after announcing my candidacy. And people pray for me, which I appreciate, but I’m praying for the city of Milwaukee.
“I will take a strong stand on what I see, and if you see something, let me know. Because we can do it together.”
Since he announced his mayoral campaign in September 2015, thousands of Milwaukeeans have learned about Methu.
Here is his current plan from his website.
Citizens of Milwaukee
- Implementing a plan to attack poverty.
- Empower every single Milwaukeean and create an opportunistic environment for small, medium and large businesses
- Milwaukee education and safety.
- Initiate the development of a primary school dedicated to training in computer coding.
- Students must experience real world training to continue the growth of the city by innovating, owning and operating at home.
City of Milwaukee
- Competing in a global market by building partnerships within the United States and abroad.
- Neighborhood development plans that incorporate small business development and support.
- Multi-year small business fund is established and distributed equally among all 15 alderman districts eager to grow and innovate.
- Implement a community-based public safety plan in action, where local districts employ citizens to play the all important role in helping police protect our neighborhoods.
Now that you know who he is, and as you prepare to cast your primary ballot, look into the mirror and ask,
“Who are you?”