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Tosa attorney challenges Walsh for seat on Common Council

Jan. 4, 2012

Incumbent Michael Walsh has a challenger for the 5th District aldermanic position in attorney Joel Tilleson.

Tilleson, 30, has lived in Wauwatosa since 2007. He was a first-time homebuyer who plans to make Tosa his home for the long run.

"I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the council as it tackles the redevelopment of North Avenue and the Village area," he said. "I want to make sure we do what we can to attract unique businesses that will invest in the community and encourage other first-time homebuyers to move to the East Tosa area and join in the revitalization."

He sees safety and crime, traffic problems on Wauwatosa Avenue and flooding problems in East Tosa as priority issues. He also said his neighborhood - west of Wauwatosa Avenue and south of Center Street - is "overlooked by the current representation."

He works as an attorney for the Falk Metz firm and has a law degree from the University of Minnesota. This is his first run for public office. Tilleson considers himself "a fiscal conservative who advocates responsible money management."

Walsh, 42, said he keeps a careful watch over city spending as head of the city's Budget and Finance Committee and a member of the Employee Relations Committee.

"I spend the city's money as if it were my own," he said. "I'm very thoughtful about spending additional money. We've able to pass, for the most part, status quo budgets."

There has been some violent crime in his district. For instance, a postal carrier was mugged. Dealing with crime and perceived safety issues is important, he said. He also wants to continue the progress of bringing new businesses and developments to East Tosa, especially now that the Blockbuster building has been vacated, and implement a master plan created in 2011.

He has lived in Tosa since 1998 and works as manager of client relations for DHI Corp, a provider of home décor fixtures to retailers. He holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Walsh said he has tried to incorporate service into his life, including 2 ½ years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. He is finishing his first, four-year term on the council.

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