The management of the April elections in Milwaukee left many people feeling frustrated, angry and disenchanted with the local government. Dora Drake, who was born and raised in Milwaukee, was among them. Rather than continuing to stay frustrated, Drake decided to do something about it.
Currently, Drake is running for State Assembly. She’s hoping to represent the 11th District, the district where she was born and raised.
“It’s time for a change and I want to be a part of it,” Drake said.
Drake grew up in the Graceland neighborhood. In 2015, she graduated from Marquette University with a degree in social welfare and justice. She went on to become a pretrial case manager for JusticePoint, where she helped implement a racial-bias training for employees.
Last year, Drake worked as a campaign manager for Shyla Deacon, who was running for Milwaukee Public Schools School Board in District 1. It was through this experience that Drake gained a deeper insight to the education disparities children were facing.
Children and families are the anchor of the community, she said. For a community to thrive, children and families need to receive the care they need. Drake hopes to bring family friend activities and events back to District 11 such as a movie theatre.
Education plays a major role in Drake’s campaign platform. If elected, Drake wants to make solutions that produce tangible results. She plans to invest in the youth, which includes dismantling the school to prison pipeline. Furthermore, she wants to find a way to give households Wi-Fi access and affordable laptops.
In the wake of the pandemic when so many students are taking online classes, a lot of organizations have stepped up, Drake noted. She added that access to Wi-Fi and technology shouldn’t be temporary.
Drake’s platform includes focusing on economic stability and reentry services and the criminal justice reform. To create economic stability, people need to invest in the community. That means increasing homeownership and supporting minority owned businesses, she said.
The pandemic demonstrated how vital essential workers are and they deserve to be supported and have fair pay, Drake said.
Drake’s past work at JusticePoint and current job as a member service coordinator at the Center for Self Sufficiency, have shown her the complexities of the reentry system. A lot of people reentering society want to make a change, but they struggle to do so because of the barriers in their way, she said. Things can’t stay the same.
Some of the issues facing District 11 are new and some have always been there, Drake noted. While the pandemic has made people more aware of the disparities that affect Milwaukee, it’s also changed the way Drake approached her campaign.
Her team has been working hard to engage with the community through phone calls, Zoom meetings, social media and mailings. The health and safety of the 11th District’s residents is very important and given the pandemic it’s also important that people exercise their democracy, she said.