Milwaukee Democratic Senator Lena Taylor says she won’t quit, even after landing in hot water thanks to a report that says she bullied staff.
Surrounded by constituents in Milwaukee today, Taylor defended her staffing decisions, along with her choice of words during a recent altercation with a bank teller. The longtime, outspoken critic of Republican policies says she won’t stop fighting for her community… even after her own party stripped her of a key committee assignment.
Taylor has served in public office for 16 years, and said today it’s unfair that she’s been kicked off the legislature’s powerful budget writing committee. Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling announced the change on Tuesday.
“Even amidst the political lynching that one is attempting to do… I’m still Senator Taylor. I still represent the Fourth District. I still will be fighting for women. I still will be fighting for the people in my community.”
Taylor will be replaced by Senator LaTonya Johnson, another Milwaukee Senator and the only other black woman in the legislature. Johnson was elected to the Senate in 2016, maker her one of the newest senators in the Capitol. Taylor says while she respects Taylor, she still isn’t happy with the decision to boot her off the committee.
“Let me be clear, we know anybody looking with their eyes open knows that this is political shenanigans. It’s unacceptable. You can’t switch one black girl for another and think it’s the same.”
A report from the Senate’s human resources department found Taylor bullied her staff, and retaliated against an employee for using family and medical leave. But Taylor says her colleagues in the Senate jumped to conclusions before stripping her of her powerful committee position.
“I’m saddened of the rush to judgement; the racism that exists in this community.”
Taylor also became embroiled in another recent scandal after police intervened during an altercation she had with a bank teller. She used a racial slur while arguing with the teller, who’s also black. Taylor says the word’s wide use in the black community justifies her decision to use it.
But despite the drama, the historically outspoken Taylor says she won’t change her fiery rhetoric.
“God made me, my momma and daddy raised me, and I am the woman that I am. Right from the cracks of the concrete of Milwaukee, the rose that I am, with my thorns and with my pedals, I embrace it all and so should you because it’s not anything other than who I was made to be.”
Taylor says she regrets the exchange at the bank, but accused the Milwaukee Police Department of treating her unfairly on the basis of race. She was cited for disorderly conduct.
Nina Kravinsky reported on the story for WORT News.