Mayor of Madison is a great job, but it is frequently challenging. I am the only candidate in this race with the necessary combination of experience, vision, expertise in managing a complex municipality, and passion for social justice and improving lives that we need to keep Madison moving forward.
This is a critical time for our city.
• Madison’s robust economy helps the city fund equity and social justice initiatives that are either nonexistent, or are underfunded, at the state or federal levels. We can’t afford to go backward when it comes to Madison’s fiscal health. Under my leadership we have built an economy that outpaces Wisconsin in job growth and economic opportunity. We need to continue innovative programs like our JOBS TIF that ties TIF money to wages, benefits and worker training.
• Of the nation’s largest 100 cities, Madison is one of only 11 to achieve gains in employment and median wages, and poverty declines, across all racial and ethnic groups since 2010. While we are seeing results from some of the equity programs I have spearheaded, we need to make further and greater progress.
• It is a new day with Tony Evers as governor. But the Legislature is still controlled by those who disparage and thwart Madison. I will work with Gov. Evers to reverse damage that’s been done. At the same time we need to stand up to the legislative majority that is hell-bent on undermining our progress.
As mayor, I’ve focused on access to health care, housing, transportation, quality child care, and education/job development to close gaps. Without my leadership and my willingness to go to the mat for proven programs, they will not be sustained at levels that will continue to show results.
For example, our peer support team program, which reduces gun violence, deserves more investment. Unfortunately, some City Council members voted against necessary increases.
The job of mayor has been described as “the unglamorous business of making things happen.” It may be unglamorous, but I love sharing with you the joy of making the Madison we love better.
Here’s some of what the future holds:
• Bus Rapid Transit is coming. The reality is that we need state and federal cooperation to create BRT. With a new governor and my ability to work with other municipalities, we can leverage the hundreds of millions in funding we need.
• We are strengthening neighborhoods. I created the Healthy Retail Access Program that jump-started the new grocery store in Allied Drive. My leadership led to the creation of new neighborhood centers. We must continue to invest in community centers and oppose efforts to divert funding to other infrastructure that can wait a few years. The kids cannot wait.
• Madison is becoming more green. We are using biodiesel fuel, electric vehicles, installing solar panels where practicable, and purchasing electric buses. Our goal is an all-electric city fleet.
• Equity will continue to be our highest priority. My leadership created a more diverse city government. We are partnering with the county and nonprofits to reduce the use of jails for young adults. Our Market Ready Initiative gives a leg up to diverse entrepreneurs.
• I kept my commitment on affordable housing and we are now setting new goals. We’re on target to build 1,000 affordable apartments and 5,000 market-rate units.
While we have accomplished much during my time as mayor, we have significant opportunities to make our great city even greater. I am the only candidate in this race who has a proven record as an effective, straightforward leader who gets things done. I ask for your support on Feb. 19.
Paul Soglin, the incumbent, is a candidate for mayor of Madison.