Board of Supervisors

Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson

5th District Supervisor

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for electing me to serve as your Milwaukee County Supervisor for another term. 2020-22 is my third term as a Supervisor on the County Board. Since I was first elected in April 2016, I have made it my mission to amplify the voices and concerns of District 5 residents. As your representative, I particularly value and have enjoyed meeting personally with neighbors, community groups, local organizations, and businesses who are working to build a better community. You are the reason I'm here. 

I am honored that my colleagues on the Board elected me as their Chairwoman for the 2020-22 term. Milwaukee County continues to face many challenges. We're managing a revenue crisis that has forced us to cut about $30 million from the County Budget each year, and we've declared racism a public health crisis and launched a strategic plan to achieve racial equity and become the healthiest county in Wisconsin. We're confronting a second health care crisis with the Coronavirus. Both of these challenges call for intentional leadership and ongoing public engagement. Please don't hesitate to contact me with your thoughts or concerns about these and other issues.

In addition to my responsibilities as Chairwoman, I continue to serve on the boards of the Milwaukee Public Library and the  Milwaukee Art Museum. I also serve on the Board of Directors for Local Progress, a national network that supports, connects and unites progressive local elected officials and allied organizations.

As Chairwoman, I will continue to sponsor progressive legislation and work with you to make our community a better place to live, work, and play. If you have ideas for new policies or how to collaborate with the community to advance our shared values, please let me know!

Staying connected with you  is important to me. Please share any news of  noteworthy events in your neighborhood or community, or events and projects that involve an organization to which you belong. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

How to Contact Me

Email me

Call my office at (414) 278-4261

Connect With Chairwoman Nicholson

Chairwoman Nicholson welcomes the opportunity to hear from you. To receive advance notice of the Chairwoman’s upcoming events, please fill out the form below so that we can verify you are a Milwaukee County resident. This information is essential to ensuring the security of the event.

Chats With the Chairwoman


Previous Chats

Wednesday, June 16, 2021
"Celebrating Black Activism"

With special guests: 

  • Tracey Corder, Deputy Campaign Director, Action Center on Race and the Economy
  • Tia Richardson, Community Mural Artist
  • Mariah Smith, Community Organizer, The Peoples Revolution
  • Reggie Jackson, Co-Founder & Lead Trainer/Consultant, Nurturing Diversity Partners 

    Watch the archived video here


Thursday, March 25, 2021
"Black Women Discuss Racism, Colorism and Erasure"

With special guests: 

  • LaTonya Johnson, Wisconsin State Senator (District 6)
  • Shavonda Sisson, Program Director of Ally and Alumni Experience, Public Allies Milwaukee
  • Elle Halo, LGBTQIA/QTPOC Health Equity Advocate/Educator, Planned Parenthood of WI Inclusion Health Program Specialist

Watch the archived video here

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020
"The Unique Challenges of Being a Black Leader" 

  • Angela Lang, Black Leaders Organizing Communities
  • Wes Bellamy, Author and former Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, NC
  • Wanda Montgomery, President, Village of Brown Deer
  • David Bowen, WI State Representative (District 10)
  • Vaun Mayes, Community Task Force, Milwaukee
  • Arnitta Holliman, Office of Violence Prevention, City of Milwaukee Health Department

    Watch the arcived video here


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Map of the 5th Supervisory District

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About Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson

Marcelia Nicholson is an award-winning activist, and the first Black woman and Latina elected as Chairwoman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Prior to her election as Board Chair, she served as 1st Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Economic & Community Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committees. She sits on the board of directors of several community and national organizations, including Local Progress, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. 

Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, Chairwoman Nicholson works to make opportunities that were given to her as a young woman growing up in 53206, one of the nation’s poorest and most incarcerated zip-codes, available to others. Chairwoman Nicholson is a champion for working people, public education, economic development, and community empowerment. Her past work as a union activist, community organizer, and educator informs her policy and community work. She has authored and sponsored several significant pieces of legislation, including a $15 living wage ordinance, an eviction reduction program, a resolution establishing Juneteenth Day as a major holiday, and a declaration of racism as a public health crisis (Milwaukee County was the first county or local municipality in the United States to do so). She has also secured funding for County parks, advocated on behalf of women of color seeking entrepreneurship, and fought for criminal justice reform. 

Chairwoman Nicholson is a proud product of Milwaukee Public Schools and is an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to her first election to the Board of Supervisors in 2016, she taught 4th grade at Milwaukee Public Schools. As a member of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA), she worked to organize MTEA members and community groups for better teaching and classroom conditions. She earned recognition for for her activism and dedication to Social Justice Unionism with a feature profile and cover story in the Fall 2016 edition of the National Education Association magazine. 

As the current Vice President of Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, Marcelia engages political leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union, while connecting disenfranchised Milwaukeeans to good family-sustaining jobs, union representation, career development, and the halls of government. 

In her spare time, Marcelia serves as a national trainer for the Progressive Governance Academy, where she trains progressive elected officials across the country on various skills, including transitioning to public leadership and setting an agenda. She also has a passion for baking and owns her own business baking cookies, cakes, and sweets. 

Notable accomplishments and recognitions:

  • Milwaukee Democratic Party Rising Star Award (2020)
  • Panelist, Democratic National Convetion, Milwaukee (2020)
  • Young Elected Officials Inaugural 35 under 35 (2020)
  • Downtown Milwaukee Downtown Playmaker Award (2019)
  • Young Elected Officials Inaugural Trailblazer Award (2018)
  • Panelist, Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference (2018)
  • Local Progress National Board Member (2017)
  • National Working Families Party Academy Delegate to Madrid, Spain (2017)
  • Center for Popular Democracy Elected Representative to World Transformed Festival in Brighton, England (2019)
  • Panelist, Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia (2016)
  • National Education Association (NEA) 30 Under 30 (2016)
  • NEA Magazine Cover Story (Fall 2016)
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Press Releases

Chairwoman Nicholson Advances Equity Initiative at Wisconsin Counties Association Conference


County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson made strides to advance a statewide initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across Wisconsin at last week’s Wisconsin Counties Association’s (WCA) annual conference in La Crosse, Wis.

Urban Ecology Center to Host Ceremony Honoring North Region Parks Employees


On Friday, August 13 at 10 a.m. the Urban Ecology Center – Washington Park will hold a ceremony recognizing 21 Milwaukee County Parks Department maintenance workers and unit coordinators working in the department’s North Region.

Board Adopts Chairwoman Nicholson’s Proposal to Create Paid Internships


The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a proposal from Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson to offer paid internships, rather than unpaid positions, to area students that want to learn the skills associated with working for a local legislative body.

Milwaukee County ARPA Task Force to Hold First Meeting Thursday


On Thursday, August 12 at 10 a.m., Milwaukee County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Task Force will meet for the first time. Public comment is welcome and those interested in speaking to any agenda item can sign up on the County web site.

Chairwoman Nicholson, Supervisor Ortiz-Velez Honor Hispanic Leaders at County Board Meeting


County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and District 12 Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez presented Voces de la Frontera, United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS), Walter Garron, and Alondra Garcia with citations in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month at Thursday’s County Board meeting.

Board of Supervisors Approves Nicholson Appointees to Serve on Independent Redistricting Committee


Last week the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson’s appointment of six retired judges to serve on Milwaukee County’s Independent Redistricting Committee.

Chairwoman Nicholson Proposal Would Create Paid Internships, a First for Board of Supervisors


Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Joseph J. Czarnezki, Felesia A. Martin, Steven Shea, Shawn Rolland, and Willie Johnson, Jr. are proposing that the County Board offer paid internships, rather than unpaid positions, to area students that want to learn the skills associated with working for a local legislative body.

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to Hold Ceremonial Swearing-In


In the evening following its Thursday, July 29 meeting the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will hold a ceremonial swearing in at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water Street.

Chairwoman Nicholson and Supervisor Ortiz-Velez Celebrate Beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month


Today begins the observation of Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have achieved success and inspired others.

Supervisor Coggs-Jones and Chairwoman Nicholson to Host Community Cleanup


County Supervisor Priscilla E. Coggs-Jones and Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson will host a community cleanup on Saturday, July 24 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

County Board of Supervisors Congratulate Colectivo Workers on Successful Union Election


On Monday, workers at Colectivo Coffee won an election to form a union by a margin of 106-99, after the National Labor Relations Board opened up seven challenged ballots that were uncounted during the first count, which resulted in a 99-99 tie result.

County Board of Supervisors Congratulate the Bucks on Historic NBA Championship


On Tuesday night the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the team’s first NBA Championship since 1971.

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In The News

Urban Milwaukee: New Map For Supervisor Districts Submitted


The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will soon consider a new map for supervisory districts approved by an independent redistricting committee — one which may make some supervisors very uncomfortable.

Milwaukee Independent: Milwaukee Celebrates Pride Month With Rainbow-Themed Transit Vehicles And LGBTQ+ Public Art


Leaders from Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, and local organizations joined with area residents on June 1 at Cathedral Square Park to kick off Pride Month, and unveil several initiatives that celebrated the LGBTQ+ community and their contributions.

JS Online: Does Milwaukee's Decline in Population Diminish the City's Political Clout?


There was a time many decades ago when the city of Milwaukee was home to one of every five Wisconsinites and produced a quarter of all the Democratic votes in the state.

Shepherd Express: We’re Almost There


The past month has seen some major steps forward toward re-opening of our state. The efforts to vaccinate our population over the past four and a half months has been impressive.

JS Online: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's Eventual Departure Opens Door To Generational Change


As Mayor Tom Barrett looks toward his likely new ambassadorship in Luxembourg, Milwaukeeans are contemplating the future of the city without the long-serving mayor at the helm.

Urban Milwaukee: No More County Government Bickering


It’s a new era in Milwaukee County government. For decades, there has been nasty bickering between the county board and county executive, but County Executive David Crowley and Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson, are getting along famously.

WPR: Milwaukee County To Require COVID-19 Vaccines For Employees


Milwaukee County will become the next Wisconsin employer to require COVID-19 vaccines for its employees. County Executive David Crowley issued an administrative order to all non-union represented county staff that they must be vaccinated by Oct. 1, or they could be denied promotions and over time opportunities.

CBS 58: Milwaukee Celebrates Pride Month 2021, Unveils Rainbow MCTS Bus And Streetcar


You'll see rainbows on the road in Milwaukee this month. June is Pride Month and Tuesday, June 1, supporters kicked it off by showing off a rainbow-accented streetcar and a rainbow-colored Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) bus.

Urban Milwaukee: Vaccine Mandate Announced for County Employees


Milwaukee County leaders announced a vaccine requirement Friday for most county employees that will take effect in October. County Executive David Crowley said the new requirement would protect employees and residents that access county services, supporting the county’s stated goal to become the healthiest county in Wisconsin.

TMJ4: Health Officials And Elected Officials Turn More Attention Towards Fighting Vaccine Hesitancy


The U.S. has passed a new milestone with more than 200 million citizens vaccinated. But now, the Biden administration and health officials nationwide are refocusing their attention on vaccine hesitancy.

JS Online: Electrical Fires' Impact On Black Milwaukee Renters Prompts Action By Evers And Other Officials


Calling the situation horrific and inexcusable, city, county and state leaders said this week they are committed to doing what it takes to improve conditions that leave Black renters in Milwaukee far more vulnerable to electrical fires than anybody else in the city.

Urban Milwaukee: Dontre Hamilton Memorial Proposed for Red Arrow Park


Milwaukee County Supervisor Sequanna Taylor is sponsoring a resolution that would create a memorial for Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park. Hamilton was shot and killed by a Milwaukee Police officer in the park in 2014.

JS Online: 2020 Census Numbers Are In And Redistricting Is Getting Started. Here's What You Need To Know.


Now that the U.S. Census Bureau has released population figures from the 2020 Census, the redrawing of congressional, state legislative and local electoral district maps begins — a process known as redistricting.

WPR: Milwaukee County Banning Single-Use Plastic In Its Facilities


Milwaukee County plans to phase out single-use plastics and other non-biodegradable products from county-owned facilities and parks by next year. The county has also set a goal for the county Parks Department to eliminate polystyrene foam, commonly used for to-go containers and cups, in 2022.

Milwaukee Magazine: Who’s In Charge Of Milwaukee If Barrett Becomes Ambassador To Luxembourg?


Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s expected departure to Luxembourg could temporarily hand the city’s top job to a millennial and set off a free-for-all in the special election that would follow – that is, depending on the speed of the U.S. Senate.

Cap Times: In Wake Of Wisconsin’s Racial Justice Protests, Curfew Tickets Raise Equity And Speech Questions


The envelope looked like any other — slightly wrinkled, a handwritten address scrawled across the front. But Jared Cain said he felt violated after looking inside.

JS Online: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Nominated To Be Ambassador To Luxembourg By President Biden


The White House announced Wednesday that President Joe Biden will nominate Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to serve as ambassador to Luxembourg. If approved by the U.S. Senate, it would be a capstone to more than three decades of public service, dating back to 1984 when he was first elected to the state Assembly.

Milwaukee NNS: Sunday April 25 Caravan And County Board Call For Normal Relations With Cuba


This Sunday, April 25, Milwaukee will join a rapidly spreading movement of car and bike caravans calling for an end to the US economic blockade of Cuba, beginning at the Mitchell Park domes at 1 PM.

Urban Milwaukee: Supervisors Create Independent Redistricting Committee


Milwaukee County’s first-ever, independent redistricting committee — not done by the county supervisors — is beginning its work under less-than-ideal circumstances. The census data required for drawing new legislative maps recently arrived from the federal government, which was several months late. Typically, redistricting would already be well underway.

TMJ4: Milwaukee County Board Adopts Resolution To Eliminate Single-Use Plastics, Foam Products


The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Thursday that calls for the elimination of single-use plastic or polystyrene foam products in county facilities and parks.

Bloomberg: How Should Cities Spend Billions in Aid? Ask People Who Live There


As America’s states and cities decide how to spend their share of the $350 billion in Covid relief funds they’re getting from the federal government, some are asking residents for ideas. Richmond, Virginia, turned to Survey Monkey.

Urban Milwaukee: Board To Consider Climate Change Policy


On Thursday April 22nd, also known as Earth Day, the Milwaukee County Board will consider a raft of climate and pollution related legislation.

Shepherd Express: Moving Toward a Shared Vision


Marcelia Nicholson was elected in 2016 as County Supervisor for the 5th District, which includes parts of Downtown and the North Side. Last year she became the first Black woman to serve as chairperson of the County Board of Supervisors.

Milwaukee Courier: Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson Calls for Milwaukee County to Go Carbon Neutral, Battle Climate Change


The Committee on Parks, Energy, and Environment has recommended adoption of two climate change combat proposals sponsored by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson, a press release announced earlier this week.

JS Online: Public Participation In Drawing Municipal And County Election Maps Could Suffer With Delayed Census Reports


Municipalities and counties across Wisconsin are facing a tight timeline when it comes to local redistricting, raising concerns among some that the public could have less opportunity to participate in the once-a-decade process. Wisconsin senators must support voting rights bill


Earlier this month, the U.S. House took a democracy-affirming step that is sorely needed as we confront some of the biggest threats to our rights in recent memory. It passed the “For the People Act,” a comprehensive bill that shores up voting rights and goes after corruption and secretive big spending in politics.

New York Times: Milwaukee Needed This Win


When Giannis Antetokounmpo signed on with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, he was a scrawny 18-year-old rookie from Greece, brimming with untapped potential. The Bucks, meanwhile, were a flailing N.B.A. franchise. Somehow, it was a match made in heaven.

Milwaukee Courier: ‘We are Doing This in the Spirit of Equity’: Milwaukee Expands Vaccine Distribution


The fact that the vulnerable communities in Milwaukee have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing new. The inequities in health care and resource distribution made it almost inevitable that people living in some of the poorest neighborhoods would suffer the most.

JS Online: In Segregated Milwaukee, The Bucks' Playoff Run And Deer District Offer A Glimpse At A More Unified City


The Milwaukee Bucks have brought their city together. Thousands of people from all backgrounds are gathering each playoff game outside Fiserv Forum, and the city is buzzing with the shared hope of an NBA championship. That togetherness might be temporary, but it's a glimpse at a more unified Milwaukee.

Urban Milwaukee: Top Local Elected Officials Get Vaccinated


Three of Milwaukee’s top elected officials received a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to encourage more citizens to take advantage of the free vaccine clinics being operated by the city and the county.

JS Online: Milwaukee Common Council Meets For The First Time In Person Since Pandemic Began


The Milwaukee Common Council met this week for the first time in person since the coronavirus pandemic forced many government meetings and services to move online early last year.

CBS 58: Milwaukee County leaders get COVID-19 vaccine: 'Everybody's got to do their part'


Milwaukee County leaders say they're keeping equity at the forefront as they encourage thousands of people across 10 ZIP codes to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To help reinforce that message, three leaders leaders got their shots on Tuesday, March 23.

Bay View Compass: ARPA Funds Provide Much Needed Relief


Most people may know the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, signed into law by President Biden in March, as the law that gave most Americans a one-time payment of $1,400 this spring. What you may be less aware of is that the law will have significant impacts across Milwaukee County government.

CBS 58: Milwaukee County District 5 businesses receive $1.2 million in Covid-relief grants


More than 150 small businesses in Milwaukee County's 5th Supervisory District received a total of $1.2 million on Tuesday, March 16. The grant is through the county's Small Business Recovery Initiative Grant Program. The amount is more than any other Supervisory district, according to county officials.

Urban Milwaukee: Board Approves Lucille Berrien Park


The Milwaukee County Board passed a resolution Thursday officially renaming a park for longtime Milwaukee activist Lucille Berrien. Berrien’s name will be given to what is currently Lindbergh Park, located at the intersection of N. 16th St. and W. Nash St.

Urban Milwaukee: Federal Bill Combats Voter Suppression


On January 6th, we all watched as right-wing extremists, spurred on by one of the most divisive presidents in the history of the United States, attempted to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election by attacking the U.S. Capitol, and attempting to thwart the certification of the Electoral College vote.

TMJ4: Making Juneteenth An Official Holiday


There's a push on Capitol Hill to mark Juneteenth Day - a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States - as a federal holiday. A bill that would add Juneteenth as a federal holiday is now heading to President Joe Biden's desk for signature after the House approved the measure Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 415-14.

Wisconsin Examiner: Shifting the narrative around legalizing Badger cannabis


Ending Wisconsin’s cannabis prohibition is an effort being pushed across multiple fronts. While proposals are hashed out in the halls of government, and not likely to succeed while the GOP controls both Legislative branches, advocates also see the need to shift the narrative around cannabis.

FOX 6: Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Reflects On Racial Equity Work


Marcelia Nicholson, chairwoman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, is reflecting after a year as the board's head. "Despite the fiscal challenges that we face at Milwaukee County, we’re able to reinvest in community services that people really care about," said Nicholson.

Urban Milwaukee: County Supervisors Back $1 Pot Penalty


The Milwaukee County penalty for marijuana possession would drop from up to $500 to $1, under a proposal introduced by a group of county supervisors. “In achieving racial equity, disparities in the criminal justice system, including marijuana and paraphernalia possession laws, must be eradicated,” the resolution said.

Urban Milwaukee: County On Track for Emissions Goals


In April, the Milwaukee County Board passed legislation that committed the county to becoming carbon neutral, with some added benchmarks to hit along the way. Early work investigating the county’s greenhouse gas emissions shows it may already be ahead of schedule.

Capital Times: Milwaukee County considers leaving statewide organization after Dane County pulls out


The state's biggest county is putting off a decision on whether to continue its membership in a statewide lobbying association, a group Dane County already left over concerns that it did not represent its interests.

Shepherd Express: Pride In Milwaukee


Attending the June 1 Mayoral Pride Month Proclamation and MCTS Rides with Pride Bus Launch Ceremony I was particularly struck with a sense of Pride not only in the context of Pride Month and the cause it commemorates, but also of Pride in both the city itself and Milwaukee County.

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