When it comes to developments in city government in Milwaukee, there’s one thing you can almost guarantee – a public comment or a news release by Alderman Bob Donovan.
Donovan represents the 8th district on Milwaukee’s south side, and he is often a thorn in the side of a mayor and common council that are pretty closely aligned.
In fact, his outspokenness on many issues is such that a movement has sprung up to draft Bob Donovan to run in the next mayoral election.
“His name is known throughout the city,” says reporter Larry Sandler. “Not necessarily liked in all corners of the city. But he has his constituency, and his constituency is not limited to his district.”
Donovan is the subject of Sandler's in-depth profile in the November issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
"I thought with somebody that high-profile, it’s worth taking a look into what makes them tick, what they’re really all about, what they really want," he says.
So Sandler got to observe Donovan's daily life. Sandler says the politician is deeply invested in constituent service. Twice a week, Donovan walks with a team of city employees as well as a police officer, through a particular neighborhood in his district to look for concerns, learning how a small issue can build up to one big problem.
Donovan also takes a lot of phone calls from people who want help and he is quite responsive, Sandler says. People who call are not always from his district, but Sandler believes he gains these supporters through his press conferences and news releases. Additionally, Donovan can be found every morning at the George Webb on 21st and Mitchell, welcoming all to meet with him and to have a conversation.
Larry Sandler’s article on Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan is called “Lone Wolf,” and it’s in the November issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
Editor's note: A previous online version of this story reported that a firefighter sometimes accompanies Donovan on his walk through this district, which is not the case. Lake Effect regrets the error.