Madison, we are what we do. We can no longer afford reports that go unread and unfulfilled promises from the campaign trail. We can push for real solutions to persistent problems. Our city deserves leadership equal to our dreams and undaunted by our challenges.
I am running for mayor because this challenging political moment asks each of us to do all we can to make our city work for everyone. Housing is unaffordable for young families and seniors. Our transit system is broken for many. Racial divisions appear to be deepening.
My career began in community and economic development. I worked with regional employers and local government agencies to bring jobs and investment to some of the poorest neighborhoods in Wisconsin.
Today, I bike year-round and lead a statewide water policy agency as the executive director. I am one of two candidates with executive responsibilities. I manage a budget, meet a payroll, lead a talented team, and set a vision for our organization.
I also chair the Sustainable Madison Committee, which led Madison to become the first Wisconsin city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy. A clean environment is not just good for our health; it is the key to our economic success.
I believe the biggest challenge Madison faces is how we manage our tremendous growth. In the next two decades, it is estimated that 70,000 more people will call Madison home. Our growing economy can be a tool to advance our environmental goals, make a more equitable city and and maintain our quality of life.
Let’s move forward with ambition, creativity and common purpose to meet our challenges through a Green Growth Agenda.
A GREEN, SUSTAINABLE MADISON
● 100% Green, Renewable Energy
○ The city should reach 100% renewable energy by 2030, with all of Madison following by 2045.
○ Make renewable energy the low-cost option for all Madisonians.
○ Offer expedited permitting for buildings that meet high environmental standards.
○ Ensure the utility companies are contributing to reach these goals.
● Comfortable, Efficient Transportation
○ Move toward fare-free transit.
○ Implement bus rapid transit.
○ Focus route planning on those who depend on transit the most.
○ Expand safe options like cycling, walking and bus service.
● Clean, Healthy Lakes and Parks
○ Embrace creativity and increase art in our parks and public spaces.
○ Use the purchasing power of the city and anchor institutions to reduce agricultural runoff.
○ Begin a voluntary “healthy lakes” badge for residents and local businesses.
○ Ensure all parks are fully accessible to people of all abilities by 2024.
A GROWING, EQUITABLE MADISON
● New, Affordable Housing
○ Engage TIF to build more affordable housing.
○ Make room for everyone through equitable zoning reform.
○ Explore innovative new housing types, support first-time homeowners and rehabilitate rental properties.
○ Use the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help those who struggle with rising assessments.
● Innovative, Early Childhood Education
○ Focus on kids from day 1, not grade 1.
○ Spearhead a citywide early childhood care program, devoted to kids ages 0-3.
○ Provide wraparound services to reduce achievement gaps.
● Fair, Essential Services
○ Expand mental health and addiction services.
○ Improved transparency and public accountability of MPD.
○ Add faster ambulance services to serve all of our growing neighborhoods.
○ Empower youth participation in city decisions.
My parents are immigrants who showed me that you can achieve anything through hard work and a supportive community. My wife and I want a fair, healthy, and diverse city for our three young daughters. Social justice is far more than just an ideal, it is the foundation for a strong community.
With your vote, let’s make a Madison that works for ALL of us.
Raj Shukla is a candidate for mayor of Madison.