By Gregg Hoffmann
Chris Walton is playing a dual role in Wisconsin politics these days.
He’s a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and a candidate for the 17th Assembly District seat in Milwaukee.
Juggling more than one role isn’t that odd, however, for Walton. He’s often been involved in multiple roles and setting precedents.
For example, he is chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party. At age 29, he became the youngest chair in county history in 2017. He also is the first African-American male chair since the 1980s and the first openly gay chair. And he’s the only African American chair in Wisconsin at this time.
Walton has been active in politics since 2004. “I’ve been involved with the Democratic Party since I was 15 years old,” he said. “I’ve worked on various campaigns from the local to the federal levels across the nation.
“I’ve worked as a national political operative, regional director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and now the chairman position.”
A graduate of Messmer High School in Milwaukee, Walton went to Mississippi State University and chose to return to his hometown after graduation.
Walton has backed Joe Biden since the start. “I did support him in the primaries, and I completely support him even more now.”
The main task right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. “The most important thing right at this point is fixing the problems around coronavirus,” he said. “But defeating Trump and flipping control of the Senate while maintaining the House majority is 1.5.”
Because of his concern about the pandemic, Walton agreed with the decisions to go mostly virtual at the Milwaukee convention. Disappointed a normal convention couldn’t be held in his hometown? “Of course, but I’d rather listen to the science and health experts than die for a political convention.”
As the county party chair, Walton could have some responsibilities at the convention. “I’m not sure what the schedule will look like for me as of yet,” he said.
Walton thinks his experience as a delegate, county party chair and work he did on the campaigns of Barack Obama and Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis will make him a strong Assemblyman.
“I have spent my entire career fighting for issues that touch everyday people,” he said in his candidacy announcement. “Especially those in communities that are too often overlooked.
“I am ready on day one to bring my personal and professional insights to give the minority and under-represented communities in our halls of power a fresh voice.”
The seat was held this session by current Milwaukee County Exec David Crowley, who resigned his legislative seat in June to succeed Chris Abele as the county’s top official.
Other Dems seeking the seat include Supreme Moore Omokunde, the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and Mike Brox, a teacher and military veteran.
The winner of the Aug. 11 primary will face Republican Abie Eisenbach in November for the heavily Dem seat.
If you know a delegate to be profiled, please contact Gregg Hoffmann at [email protected]