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Q&A: District 7 Madison City Council candidates

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District 7 candidates

Badri Lankella, left, and Donna V. Hurd Moreland are running for the District 7 seat on Madison's City Council.

Badri Lankella and Donna V. Hurd Moreland are running to represent the District 7 seat on Madison's City Council. Ald. Steve King currently holds the seat, and is not running for re-election. The election is April 2. 

District 7 boundaries

District 7 boundaries 


Badri Lankella

Badri Lankella

Badri Lankella 

Age: 41

Profession: Computer engineer — president of BNLSoft Corp., consult with state government agencies such as Department of Natural Resources

Education: Bachelor of Tech in Civil Engineering from JNTU India, Executive MBA from UW-Madison in 2019

Political experience: None

Other public service: Board member on various non-profit organizations (NSF, AIA, GMATA), coach for 4H and Lego Leagues Teams, Treasurer for Ice Age Falls Home Owners Association Board

What brought you to Madison? How long have you lived in the city and in your district?

Family and job brought me to Madison. I've been living in Madison since 2004. I've been living in District 7/Ice Age Falls Subdivision since 2009.

Why are you running for City Council?

I'm a leader who wants to step up and fix the issues rather than talk about them all the time. We have been seeing public safety concerns in the neighborhoods due to the recent increase in robberies. Safety at the bus stop is another concern. When these issues were brought up to the city, no promising actions were taken.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

Diversified leadership — Diversified people sitting in a board produce more innovative solutions.

20 years of leadership experience

Trained in Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering and Masters in Business Administration

Global Learning Experience (Evidence-based results from countries and city councils of Italy, India, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe)

What is the greatest challenge facing a) Madison and b) your district and how do you plan to fix it?

District Safety

  • Issue 1: Bus stop safety for kids is becoming increasingly concerning in our district. Getting to and from the school bus stop is becoming more dangerous to our kids these days with speeding vehicles and earlier school hours.
    • My recommendations: Improving crosswalk safety at bus stops by installing pedestrian call button and flashing crosswalk signals.
    • What I plan on doing: I’ll work with city council to install call buttons on major road crossings such as High Point and Hwy PD. I’ll donate 50% of my salary from alderman service during my term in the office of District 7 for this and/or similar safety solutions.
  • Issue 2: We are hearing a lot about thefts and crime these days in our community. Every week there is something or the other. We have to fight together to protect ourselves and build a better and safer place for our kids.
    • My recommendations: Improved street lights, Burglary Prevention Project, Positive Action and Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies.
    • What I plan on doing: Work with city council on strategic plans to implement prevention programs. I’ve lived in several cities in California and Oklahoma before moving to Madison. I’ll use my experience from the past to implement strategic plans. I’ll be visiting countries like Italy, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe during the month of March 2019 for a Global Learning Experience to study business and government strategies in these countries. These studies will help me identify similar issues we are facing and some evidence-based solutions.

School System

  • Issue: Building a competitive school system from elementary school level. At the same time the world is advancing in every field, we are cutting budgets, staff, and facilities for the development of our kids. This will only lead to a lack of competitive advantage in the near future.
    • My recommendation: Enhancing Advanced Learning Programs such as STEM programs in our school district.
    • What I plan on doing: I’ve been working with local elementary school as a coach at various STEM programs such as 4H, Lego Leagues and in the past worked with teams such as PTO, FACE etc., Working with these organizations and creating more competitive, coherent and creative programs will help enhance our kids’ competitiveness beyond our school, city, state and nation.

Economic Development

  • Issue: While I’ve been working around the capital for 15 years, I’ve seen an increase in homeless people and panhandlers in those neighborhoods. While the city has been working on this issue for years, the numbers are not progressing in the right direction.
    • My recommendation: Economic development is imperative for increasing the workforce in the Madison area. Companies like Starting Block are doing a great job of elevating Madison’s stature in the nation as well as creating a good job market with the city. We need to work with more of these programs to create a tax base as well as jobs for the Madison area and bring unemployment below 1%.
    • What I plan on doing: Working with the UW Madison business school, I’ve learned strategies to work with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that focus on developing Madison area businesses. I’ll work with the city of Madison’s economic development division to foster new ideas and direction for the future.

Other Community Issues

  • Issue: District 7 and especially the Ice Age Falls Subdivision has written to the city for years to get a playground for kids in the neighborhood with no success.
    • My recommendation: Building and maintaining a new playground in the Ice Age Falls Subdivision.
    • What I plan on doing: I’ll work with the city council to install a new playground in the subdivision. I’ll donate the rest of the 50% of my salary from alderman service during my term in the office of District 7 for this and/or similar play structures.

What do you love most about your district?

Community and friendships: I've not seen this sense of belonging in any other state or country I've lived in. Even today, when I reached out to my neighbors to obtain nomination signatures, everyone was cheering for me as one of their family members. I believe in karma and I feel the need to give it back to this community by serving for this community with the strengths I have — leadership and knowledge.


Donna V. Hurd Moreland

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Donna V. Hurd Moreland

Donna V. Hurd Moreland

Age: 59

Profession: Director of administration at Perkins Coie LLP

Education: Bachelor of arts degree from Chicago State University in 2000, Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2003, paralegal certification in 1996, Leadership Beyond Management Certificate from UW-Extension in 2013

Political experience: None 

Other public service: Served on Madison’s EEOC Commission, Affirmative Action Committee and the Downtown Coordinating Committee

What brought you to Madison? How long have you lived in the city and in your district?

I was recruited to Madison for a law firm administrator position. How long have you lived in the city and in your district? I’ve lived in Madison for 17 years and in District 7 for 14 of those years.

Why are you running for City Council?

I am running for City Council to serve my district and the City of Madison. I have served this community as a volunteer for several non-profits in Madison, in leadership roles, as well as through hand-on volunteerism. I feel this opportunity is the next step in my service to this community.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

I have a long track record of service to this community, I have served on city committee/commissions and I am passionate about giving back to my community.

What is the greatest challenge facing a) Madison and b) your district and how do you plan to fix it?

I can’t say there is a “greatest” challenge facing Madison, as there are a number of them. Affordable housing, transportation, crimes of opportunity to name just a few. It would be naïve of me to think that I can single-handedly fix any of these concerns but ensuring that I have as much information regarding each and talking with all stakeholders is the best first step to identifying solutions. Being a good listener is one of the most important qualities that a person involved in public service should possess.

In my district, public safety (crimes such as burglaries/theft) and traffic issues related to all the growth happening at the periphery of the City that drives through our district and neighborhoods present the greatest challenges at this time.

What do you love most about your district?

I love that my district is, for the most part, quiet. It has walking and biking paths that are easily accessible. I don’t have any personal safety concerns. The District has a beautiful park that am fortunate enough to be able to enjoy with my grandchildren. 

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.