A life-long Milwaukee resident, Senator Lena Taylor still lives on the block she grew up on. She is serving her fourth term in the Wisconsin State Senate, representing the 4th Senate District, which includes the Village of Shorewood, portions of Wauwatosa, Glendale, and the north & northwestern portions of the City of Milwaukee.
First elected in a special election to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2003, Lena Taylor fights unrelentingly for her constituents’ rights. Taylor has been elected to the State Senate since 2004. Senator Taylor is the thousandth senator in the state of Wisconsin, twentieth woman, fifth African-American, and only the second African-American woman to serve in the State Senate.
In past sessions, Senator Taylor served as the first African-American to chair the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee expanding the committee’s work on criminal justice reforms and implemented the first ever “State of Justice” tour, holding committee meetings across Wisconsin. Senator Taylor also served as the co-chair of the powerful and influential Joint Committee on Finance, becoming the first African-American woman to hold that position and only the second African-American.
Having graduated from Rufus King High School and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Senator Taylor was shaped by the city of Milwaukee and has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. After attaining a law degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, she practiced as a Public Defender for the people of Milwaukee and eventually opened Taylor and Associates Law Office, a general practice firm on the north side. Senator Taylor still holds free legal clinics.
Reaching out to children and young adults struggling with the same choices that she herself faced growing up in Milwaukee, Senator Taylor frequently visits schools, youth development programs, and churches, spreading her message of responsible decision making, commitment to education, social and economic justice and ambitious pursuit of dreams.
Taylor gives back to the community through membership on several boards and commissions. Senator Taylor’s dedicated efforts to serve her community and state have been recognized by both local and national organizations.
- In 2012, Senator Taylor was named a “Conservation Champion” by the League of Conservation Voters
- Also in 2012, Taylor was given the distinguished “Public Service Support for Reproductive Rights” award from Family Planning Health Services, Inc. for her work securing the rights of women in their own health care.
- In 2010, Taylor was bestowed with the extremely prestigious National Legislator of the Year Award from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. The Senator was the first legislator from Wisconsin, and the first Democrat nationally to be honored with this award in the history of the organization.
- The Senator has received accolades for her work including The Becky Young Community Justice Award in 2009, an award for being committed to fighting for Criminal Justice Reform; the Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Legislative Advocate Award in 2010; the Wisconsin Builder’s Association’s Friend of Housing Award for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; and the Friend of Agriculture Award from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
In early 2011, the Senator took a principled and dramatic stand against Governor Scott Walker’s goal of ending collective bargaining as part of the “Wisconsin 14”—the fourteen Democratic Senators that left the state in order to break quorum to slow the process of the “Budget Repair Bill” that would strip away the collective bargaining rights of public workers. Taylor and her colleagues were and are revered by many for their stand in support of worker’s rights in Wisconsin. The National Education Association awarded Taylor and the rest of the Wisconsin 14 individually their 2011 Friend of Education Award, the first time ever the award was granted to a collective group’s action.
In addition to a life of service with over two decades of legal experience, as well as more than a decade of service as an elected official, Senator Taylor is also a devoted mother to her son Isaiah and mentor to many.
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority MU Upsilon Omega Chapter: Soror Lena Taylor, Hodegos (1999, 2000)
- American Red Cross: Bipartisan Legislators Organized for Outreach to Donors (2003)
- Beloit College: Help Yourself Program (2005)
- Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Volunteers for Agriculture “Friend of Agriculture” Award (2005, 2006)
- Pakistan Cultural Society of Greater Milwaukee: Leadership Award, Multiculturalism and Outstanding Services to the Community (2006)
- 37th Annual Image Award: Excellence in Community Service, Love of Youth and Practicing, Love in Action (2007)
- Alpha Kappa Alpha/KFO: Trailblazer for Women of Wisconsin, Making A Difference Award (2007)
- Boys & Girls Club: Appreciation Award (2007)
- Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association: Don Fielbach Friend of Public Education Award (2007)
- 39th Annual Image Award: Love of Youth and Practicing, Love in Action (2009)
- Ahmadiyyah Muslim Community: Community Service Award, “Love for All Hatred for None” (2009)
- Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church: Pay It Forward Award (2009)
- Wisconsin Counties Association: Friend of County Government Award (2009)
- WISDOM: Becky Young Community Justice Award (2009)
- Wisconsin Rental Housing, Legislative Council Apartment Association: Legislator of the Year (2009)
- Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Legislative Advocate Award (2010)
- DLH Academy Founders Day Program: Social Justice Award (2010)
- National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies: National Legislator of the Year Award (2010)
- Greater Milwaukee Committee: Leadership and Support (2011)
- National Education Association: Friend of Education Award (2011)
- Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Milwaukee Chapter: Women Who Make A Difference (2011)
- Covenant Sisters International: Distinguished Woman of Destiny (2012)
- Family Planning Health Services: Annual Community Recognition Awards, Public Service Support of Reproductive Rights (2012)
- Grantosa Drive School: Special Thanks (2012)
- Just Good News: Legislator of the Year (2012)
- State of Michigan Michigan Legislative Black Caucus Special Tribute (2012)
- Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters: Conservation Champion (2012)
- Voice of the Fatherless Child: We Matter Milwaukee Award (2012)
- Grace Fellowship Church of Milwaukee: Certificate, Meet and Greet (2013)
- Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God In Christ: 27th Annual Woman’s Day Community Service Award (2013)
- Milwaukee Public School School-to-Work Transition Program: Certificate of Recognition (2014)
- Service to Thurston Woods Campus (2014)
- Wisconsin Board of People with Developmental Disabilities: Take Your Legislator to Work Participant (2014, 2015)
- The Knights: Dedicated Community Service Award (2016)
- Wisconsin Builders Association: Friend of The Housing Industry (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
- Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church: Outstanding Public Service
- Co-Grand Marshall Juneteenth Celebration
- Blood Center of Wisconsin: In Grateful Appreciation, Community Advisory Council Member
- Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters: President's Award
- State of Wisconsin Office of the Governor: Certificate of Commendation