Tom Barrett’s story is deeply rooted in Wisconsin.
His mother was from Door County, and his father made his home in the Badger State after the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) deployed him to Oshkosh for training during World War II.
Tom’s parents settled in Milwaukee, where they raised Tom and his brother and two sisters in a middle class home on the city’s west side.
Tom grew up cheering for the Braves, and of course, the Brewers, along with Badgers, Warriors, and the Packers.
He worked in high school as an usher at County Stadium. He would go on to graduate from college and law school at UW-Madison, spending time in between working on the assembly line at Harley-Davidson.
Tom turned to a career in public service, earning a reputation for his integrity, for his respect of diverse views, his ability to bring people together, and for his hard work.
As Mayor of Milwaukee, he’s created, attracted and saved jobs, solved a budget crisis, substantially reduced crime, and worked to keep the economy on track.
Recognizing we go farther when we go together, Tom helped create the M7 — a regional, bipartisan economic development group comprised of the seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin. The organization’s cooperative efforts have attracted and retained hundreds of jobs across the region.
With Tom leading the way, long abandoned industrial areas like the Menomonee Valley have been transformed into thriving commercial centers that are home to thousands of jobs.
And in just the last year, Tom has helped Helios, Ingeteam and Palermos Pizza build or expand new factories in Wisconsin.
Tom has worked with law enforcement, community groups and residents to develop proactive strategies, and he has empowered the city’s police department with the resources and strong leadership it needs to get the job done. As a result, violent crime in Milwaukee has decreased by 20% over the past two years, and homicides are at the lowest levels in more than 20 years.
When the national economic crisis blew a hole in the city pension fund, threatening Milwaukee’s bottom line, Tom put his principles of responsible budgeting and good stewardship of the people’s tax dollars to work. He cut more than $30 million in spending — balancing the books without questionable accounting tricks, and without saddling future generations with mountains of debt by borrowing money.
Tom has always called Wisconsin home. He and his wife Kris, a teacher, have four children. Their home is in the same neighborhood where Tom grew up, and is the same area he represented in the State Legislature and in Congress. Together, the family stays true to the same Wisconsin values that have guided Tom throughout his entire life.