Post by Kat Chow, Allison Int-Hout and Azusa Uchikura.
In the Epps household, participation in politics crosses generational lines. On Saturday afternoon, the family welcomed Mahlon Mitchell (D), a Wisconsin candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and about 30 neighbors, young and old, into the front yard of their Milwaukee home.
Mitchell was there canvassing through the northwest part of town urging residents to vote early in the governor recall election. Wisconsin voters can cast their ballots early from May 21 to June 1 before the election on June 5. Mitchell is Tom Barrett‘s running mate against incumbent Scott Walker (R). Rebecca Kleefisch is the Republican lieutenant governor candidate.
Mitchell is a firefighter who was born (but not raised) in Milwaukee and now lives about 90 miles west of town in Fitchburg. By visiting the Epps’ neighborhood, he tapped into an area usually overlooked by politicians.
“When we see politicians or elected officials fly over or drive right through our neigborhoods, there’s a reason for that. It’s because we’re not voting. So we have to vote,” Mitchell said.
The Epps’ Lincoln Creek neighborhood is largely African American in population, which he said often doesn’t turn out on election day. For the Epps, the priority is the same.
“A lot of our neighbors, this may be the first election they’re voting in, or in 2008 was the first election they were voting in,” said Jennifer Epps, a 30-year-old attorney and Deborah and Louis’ daughter.
Being politically active runs in their family’s genes. Deborah Epps’ father was a city council member. Her husband Louis was the first in his family to go to college, and his mother had political kitchen gatherings.
So it’s only natural that their daughter Jennifer is also involved in politics. She is an active advocate of the Barrett campaign in this election and is involved in organizing political rallies like this one.
It’s a quality that make Deborah and Louis Epps proud.
“I’m from a politically active family, trying to carry that on with my family,” Deborah said.