Lena Taylor

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Lena Taylor
Senator Taylor.JPG
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded byGwen Moore
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 18th district
In office
April 30, 2003 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byAntonio R. Riley
Succeeded byTamara Grigsby
Personal details
Born (1966-07-25) July 25, 1966 (age 54)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (BA)
Southern Illinois University (JD)

Lena C. Taylor (born July 25, 1966) is an American politician and attorney who has served as a member of the Wisconsin Senate, representing the 4th District since 2005. She previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly, representing the 18th District from 2003 to 2005. [1]

Early life and education[edit]

Taylor, a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a 1984 graduate of Rufus King High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1990, and a J.D. degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1993. As an undergraduate, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.


After graduating from law school, Taylor worked as a public defender for more than two years, representing indigent citizens in need of legal services. In 1996, she opened Taylor and Associates Law Office, a general practice firm on the north side of Milwaukee.

Wisconsin legislature[edit]

Taylor was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in a special election in April 2003 and was subsequently elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004. When Democrats were elected to the majority in the Wisconsin State Senate in November 2006, Taylor was chosen to Chair the Committee on Judiciary and Corrections, on which she had served for the preceding two years. In January 2007, Taylor was selected by the Majority Leader to serve on the Joint Committee on Finance for the second time. Following the recall of Van H. Wanggaard in June 2012, and the return of Democrats to majority party control, Taylor was named co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance.

Taylor currently serves on five different Senate Committees. She holds seats on two important economic committees: the Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism Committee, and also the Economic Development and Local Government Committee. Taylor also looks to promote voting equality and urban representation through her position on the Elections and Urban Affairs Committee. While she no longer serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Taylor is still actively involved with the judicial and corrections system by occupying a seat on the Senate Joint Review on Criminal Penalties, and her dedication to community outreach. Taylor also serves on the Senate Special Committee on Symposia Series on State Income Tax Reform Information.

In past sessions, Taylor served on the Joint Committee on Finance, and as the chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, expanding the committee's work on criminal justice reforms and implemented the first ever "State of Justice" tour with the committee across Wisconsin.

2011 Wisconsin protests[edit]

During the protests in Wisconsin, Taylor, along with the 13 other Democratic State Senators, left the state to deny the State Senate a quorum on Governor Scott Walker's "Budget Repair" legislation which repealed collective bargaining on benefits for public employees. Taylor was a frequent guest on progressive political talk shows, appearing several times with MSNBC's Ed Schultz.

During the course of debate in the Joint Committee on Finance and elsewhere, Taylor made statements comparing Walker's proposed legislation to Adolf Hitler's plan to eliminate unions.[2] On her Twitter account she wrote ""LIKE HITLER in 1933, WALKER is busting unions."[3][4]

As a result of her stance on the issue, Taylor (along with seven other Democratic senators) was nominally subject to a recall attempt. However, her opponents were only able to obtain two signatures for her recall, as of April 7.[5] Experts said that since Taylor is in a strongly partisan senate district, she was unlikely to be defeated in a recall election;[6] and in fact no recall petitions were filed.

Campaigns for other offices[edit]

2008 Milwaukee County Executive campaign[edit]

In 2008, Taylor challenged incumbent Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. She was defeated 57.74% to 40.40% by Walker.[7]

2020 Milwaukee mayoral campaign[edit]

Taylor ran for Mayor of Milwaukee in 2020. After the February 18 primary, she and incumbent mayor Tom Barrett both advanced to the April 7 general election.[8] She was defeated in the general election by Barrett.[9]


  1. ^ Lena Taylor political profile
  2. ^ Video of Wisconsin State Senator Compares Scott Walker to Hitler
  3. ^ Wisconsin state Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, says like Hitler, Gov. Scott Walker is abolishing unions
  4. ^ Hitler Tweet Among Social Media Debate
  5. ^ http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_f8e0aa70-60af-11e0-a1b8-001cc4c002e0.html
  6. ^ Kapanke given toughest odds in recall election
  7. ^ "Lena Taylor". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  8. ^ Dirr, Alison (18 February 2020). "State Sen. Lena Taylor to square off against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in April election". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  9. ^ Dirr, Alison (13 April 2020). "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett easily wins reelection in race against Lena Taylor". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 13 April 2020.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gwen Moore
Wisconsin State Senator-4th Senate District
January 2005–present