I’m a longtime Madison resident. I was born and raised here, and after spending time away during my young adulthood, I knew I wanted Madison to be where I raised my daughter. I’m running for alder because I care about my home. We live in a very special city, one that aspires to and achieves a lot of great things, but also has plenty to work on.
I’ve dedicated my professional career to working to make a difference in whatever way I can. I started in the UW-Madison Office of Undergraduate Admissions as the Native American recruiter. I not only sought out talented Native students, but worked with kids as young as sixth grade to get them prepared for higher education.
I’ve worked with tribal communities, both through politics and directly with tribes, where I learned not only about writing effective policy, but also about implementing those policies in a responsible and efficient manner. Now, while working for the Department of Transportation, I facilitate the government-to-government relationship between the state of Wisconsin and the state’s 11 federally recognized tribes. This requires working with government at all levels: local, county, state, federal, and tribal.
I’ve always been interested in politics, and became actively involved during the Act 10 protests. I had just started an internship with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and within weeks of starting, the rallies for union rights began. I saw it, like many did, as a watershed moment, one where it appeared that our very fundamental rights were threatened. Since then, I’ve worked and volunteered for candidates, making calls, knocking on doors, and organizing in each election.
District 11 is, overall, doing well. The same can be said of the city. I want to make sure that continues, but there is room for improvement. We have an ongoing responsibility to maintain and update our infrastructure and to make the city as sustainable as possible. Maintaining our clean water and repairing our roads and sewers must remain a priority. We must also prioritize maximizing our use of renewable energy, update our buildings for maximum energy efficiency, maximize recycling citywide, and implement citywide curbside composting. We are fast approaching the point where landfill space will cost much more than it does today. These steps make sense environmentally and economically.
We are a growing community, and our public safety departments must expand as well. I support building the Midtown District Police Station on its current schedule; the West District is beyond capacity and its community policing is stretched thin. This must be remedied. Additionally, I support building Fire Station 14 on the southeast side.
Much has been said about racial disparity in our community, most often in terms of crime statistics, but also our economic and health disparities. It is vital that the council strives to reduce disparity across the board, because that disparity costs us. It reduces everyone’s quality of life, but especially the poorest among us. It increases our costs for human services as we strive to provide support that has a high return on investment but also high need. It strains the fabric of our community by exacerbating implicit racism. And it impacts our public safety. These are tough challenges, but they are the challenges I have been working on throughout my career.
We need to continue smart development in the 11th District. We’ve seen successful development in the Hilldale area, but there are large projects still to come at the DOT site and near Hilldale itself. I will ensure that District 11 residents continue to be active participants in the public processes for these projects, and that the recommendations of our neighborhood plans are followed.
There is much for our new District 11 alder to do. I have the experience and leadership skills to meet these challenges, and I humbly ask for your vote on April 4.