I will continue to work for you and all of Madison:

Community Safety

There is a lot of debate about how to create a community in which everyone feels safe. Oftentimes that debate revolves around City funding of our police department. I’ve always felt that is a narrow and ineffective framing for an important discussion. Police are, and always will be, a part of making our neighborhoods safe, but to build a sustainable Madison that is safe for everyone we need a comprehensive approach. One that includes a strong, flexible police department as a partner in a much larger public safety effort. 

I have a record of accomplishments toward that goal and ideas for how we can improve on the work we’ve done:

    • Support MPD in their efforts to reduce crime and to collaborate with community groups and Public Health
    • Allow our Public Health department to enhance it’s violence prevention unit and strengthen its partnerships with the community
    • Increase funding for youth and young adult employment programs
    • Invest in youth mentoring programs – something the City does not currently do
    • Continue building the CARES program which provides mental health assistance for people in crisis and diverts them from the justice system
    • Double down on focused interruption programs
    • Support the County’s effort to build a Mental Health Triage and Restoration Center

Housing Affordability

This is another area in which Madison has made recent progress but more work needs to be done. We all know the problem – housing costs are too high for many of our residents, prohibiting folks access to quality housing. 

I believe the Council, in conjunction with the Mayor and community leaders, needs to take a “yes and” approach to bringing down housing costs:

    • Continue investing in the City’s Affordable Housing Fund – leverage state and federal tax credits to build more affordable units
    • Aggressively use the City’s Land Banking Program to build housing along transit routes and to build more affordable housing.
    • Partner with developers to make the City permitting process as transparent and predictable as possible
    • Encourage more market rate development to increase our overall housing supply.
    • Invest in acquisition and rehabilitation loan programs to keep existing housing stock affordable

Prosperity and Vibrancy

One of my guiding questions is: are we creating a city in which our current school-aged kids can become (and can see themselves become) successful business, community, educational, and political leaders? Will they choose to stay here, not just to live here, but can they thrive here? 

My answer to that, in part, comes down to the strength of our partnerships between government and the business community. By definition the two sectors will always have different goals and objectives but we should strive to work together as much as possible to ensure that Madison’s exciting pace of growth leads to shared prosperity for all. 

We can strengthen private/public partnerships and deliver the city we want for our kids by: accomplishing:

    • A small business community that is diverse, supported and healthy – around the city AND downtown
    • An economy that is vibrant and demographically representative so we retain and attract a talented workforce and families of all backgrounds
    • Landbanking, Jobs TIF programs and other economic development programs to grow our economy AND focus on under-resourced neighborhoods  
    • Growth of Bus Rapid Transit and Transit Oriented Development so people have easy access to jobs and retail
    • Strong partnership with MMSD so all of our kids graduate ready to make Madison better
      • Coordinate a community wide reading effort with the goal of getting all of our kids reading at grade level by third grade
    • Diverse arts and entertainment community (business and non-profit) that attracts artists and customers of all stripes from all over the world

City Budgets and Priorities

With costs on the rise, Federal stimulus dollars phasing out and the continued lack of support from the State Legislature, the City faces some challenging budgets in the next few years. At the same time, residents (rightfully) continue to expect top-notch basic services and that City leaders address the long-term challenges that will make Madison the vibrant and equitable city we all want it to be. These challenges aren’t necessarily new, though they may be more daunting than in recent years. 

With my steady, experienced and collaborative leadership style, we can: 

    • Work with the Mayor and staff to relieve our intermediate budget pressures
      • Reign in capital borrowing projects to bring down debt obligations
      • Reorganize employee classification system, find places to eliminate positions that have gone unfilled or are redundant
      • Evaluate every department carefully to identify places for efficiencies
      • Make difficult decisions, perhaps cutting positions if necessary
      • Improve data infrastructure so policy makers are making data-informed decisions, creating long term efficiencies
    • Undergo a Council strategic planning process that establishes a five year, data-driven budget priority framework
      • Work closely with the Mayor’s office to align goals and objectives as much as possible
      • Adhere to the framework
      • Balance individual district needs with overarching, city-wide priorities
      • Establish a data-driven evaluation structure to make sure money is being wisely invested

Government Reform

I have been a long-time advocate for reforming City Council, and other City government structures, so that it is more effective, efficient and sustainable as Madison continues to grow and change. A more stable Council that has less turnover and allows Alders more time to acquaint themselves with the nuances and demands of the job will make for one that is more effective and better represents constituents. In recent years, there has been great work done by residents and alders alike; an official ad hoc committee spent two years studying this issue and produced a well thought out report with several enticing recommendations for reform. 

The Council has been slow to act on them, if elected I will work with my colleagues and push to:

    • Elect Council members on a rotating basis, preferably having a third of the Council up for election every three years
    • Increase the length of Council terms, my preference is three years but I’m willing to consider four year terms
    • Seriously consider shrinking the size of Council and raise pay for Alders – if alder salaries remain so low, many residents cannot afford to run so are not represented by people like them.
    • Increase the length of Council leadership terms – to improve stability and effectiveness
    • Refine the Boards, Commissions and Committees (BCCs) structure  – of which there are over 100
      • Eliminate or combine BCCs that are redundant or no longer serve a direct purpose
      • Increase geographic and racial diversity on BCCs
    • Professionalize the Council’s resident engagement and neighborhood support structure