A Wisconsin state senator has come under fire for her intemperate remarks about the suburbs. On the floor of the legislature during a debate about Milwaukee‘s fiscal woes, LaTonya Johnson, a Democrat, offered no advice or remedies, opting instead to hurl down insults while using foul language.
“F–ck the suburbs because they don‘t know a goddam thing about life is in the city,” Johnson said. WI‘s second congressional district, which Johnson represents, includes parts of Milwaukee and the Wauwatosa suburbs.
Wisconsin State Senator LaTonya Johnson says “fuck the suburbs” on the senate floor during a debate on crime spilling from cities to suburbs.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 29, 2023
The senator‘s comments have drawn rebuke from commentators across the political spectrum, including some within her own party. “Dialogues like this is not only counter–productive to the values of the senator‘s constituents, but also is far out of alignment with the value of all Wisconsinites,” the Wisconsin Law Journal said in an official statement.
Local journalist Kristin Breen Ziegler has strongly criticized Johnson‘s remarks and called for her resignation. “In my opinion, State Sen. LaTonya Johnson is not fit for office and Wisconsin deserves someone who loves Wisconsin—all of Wisconsin—rural, urban, and suburban,” Breen Ziegler wrote.
Johnson, who was elected to the WI statehouse in 2012 and then to the state senate in 2017, has largely been met with praise from her fellow Democrats. But some suggest that the new two–thirds Republican majority in the WI senate, along with the close proximity of a GOP two–thirds majority in the assembly, have her spooked.
The issue at hand is the newly passed law to raise the sales tax in Milwaukee, an action Johnson was specifically opposed to when it required a voter referendum. With the new law, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors now has the power to add 0.4% to its current sales tax of 0.5%, while the Milwaukee Common Council can establish a new city sales tax of 2%.
Johnson‘s many Twitter outbursts and general attitude of anger and frustration suggest an inability to accept the outcome of the special election that cemented a Republican supermajority. Instead of forging conversation and compromise, she has chosen to lash out, diminishing her constituents in the process.
What Johnson fails to realize is that her frustration is not with the suburbs, which are home to many of her constituents, but instead with the Republican majority that has gained power over the past few years. But unfortunately, her attempt to make a statement has backfired, and her untactful words have put her in the middle of a raging firestorm.
Wisconsin Democratic state @StateSenLaTonya uses the f-word at the conclusion of a floor speech detailing crime in Milwaukee and concerns about it spreading from the city to the suburbs:
“F— the suburbs because they don’t know a goddamn thing about how life is in the city.”
— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) June 28, 2023