Alex Lasry, the son of Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry and a senior vice president with the team, announced in a YouTube video on Wednesday that he's running for U.S. Senate in 2022.
"We need a new way of thinking and a new perspective," Lasry said to open a nearly five-minute video featuring prominent Wisconsin leaders. "We've lived through three systemic shocks to the system over the last 20 years: 9/11, the great recession and now this pandemic. And we still haven't fixed things."
Lasry, 33, is running as a Democrat for a seat currently held by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who has downplayed COVID-19 and pushed conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C. Johnson has not said if he will seek a third term.
Marc Lasry and Wesley Eden purchased the Bucks franchise in 2014 from former Sen. Herb Kohl. Alex Lasry began as a vice president of strategy and operations for the Bucks and intends to take a leave of absence from his position while campaigning, per ESPN.
Lasry includes social justice in candidacy video
The video included endorsements by Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson as well as others, including construction workers from the Bucks arena project.
One of the two main focuses of the video was his commitment to social justice. The Bucks walked out of their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in the NBA bubble at Disney World to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the sports world largely followed their lead in walking out of games that night.
The organization issued a statement of support to the players' decision and Lasry tweeted his support.
Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change
— Alex Lasry (@AlexLasryWI) August 26, 2020
He had previously given his "full support" to players who wanted to put protest messages on their jerseys. The NBA and NBPA agreed to a list of phrases players could use. Lasry took part in marches and protests in the area.
Lasry: Bucks news stadium example of economic work
Lasry spoke of economic justice in his candidacy video and cited as an example the Fiserv Forum construction project. He brought new jobs and new people from the city of Milwaukee into the work force and held town halls to reach them, video participants said.
The project also had diversity and inclusion goals, which the team and Lasry said it met. Small businesses were a part of the project and 36.8 percent of all construction spending was allocated to them, the team said in November of 2019, via the Milwaukee Business Journal. Unemployed or underemployed city residents who resided in the six most economically depressed ZIP codes made up 42 percent of all on-site construction hours, per the team.
The arena build was named the Project of the Year in the Milwaukee Business Journal's 2019 Real Estate Awards. It opened in August of 2018 and was the first sports and entertainment venue in the state to earn a LEED silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The team received approval to allow fans in at 10 percent capacity for the first time since early March of last year.
Bucks owner in political arena
This is Lasry's first run for public office. He and his wife are expecting their first child and they made headlines last month for lucking into getting the COVID-19 vaccine early as doses were going to expire unless administered. He worked in President Barack Obama's White House and was the host committee chair for the 2020 Democratic Convention awarded to Milwaukee but held virtually because of the pandemic.
Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, also a Democrat, has also entered the race. A former state lawmaker and candidate for Congress in 2016 welcomed Lasry on Twitter while also challenging him to not spend any of his family's money to buy a seat. Lasry told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he will "invest" in the campaign but also work to raise small donations.
Johnson was first elected in 2010. He said in multiple interviews this week that the Capitol riot "didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me." He has pushed conspiracy theories about the riot with no evidence to back them up. In his 2016 reelection bid he said it would be his last term, but he has backtracked at times since.
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