Vote for one
Paul R. Soglin, Incumbent
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I served 6 years on the Madison City Council, currently serve on the Madison Food Policy Council, and chaired the Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee. For 13 years I’ve worked at UW as the Managing Director of the Mayors Innovation Project, a learning network for mayors focused on the high road of equity, sustainability and democracy. I’m a member of AFT Local 223 and serve on the Executive Board of the Democratic Party of Dane County. I have over twenty years of experience managing projects, budgets and staff and my degrees are in biology and ecology.
2. How would you plan to prepare Madison for predicted consequences of climate change? We need every department to review operations and infrastructure in light of climate change science so we can make good decisions about how to prepare. And as we do, we must focus on protecting our most vulnerable neighbors – especially seniors, kids, low-income households and people of color.
Madison must lead on reducing emissions to keep climate change from getting worse. All new buildings must be energy efficient - ideally net zero. Our transportation system must be more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. City government should make it possible for residents to do the right thing on climate.
3. Are any changes needed in Madison’s public transit system, especially for people with disabilities? Our transportation system is strong, but not for everyone. It must focus on people—getting you from where you are to where you need to be, safely and efficiently. That means ensuring everyone – regardless of ability or geography – has transportation choices. It is long past time to implement Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), described as “high-frequency limited-stop transit system that offers faster more direct service using larger vehicles to increase capacity.” To do this, we must upgrade our facilities, build partnerships with the County and surrounding municipalities, and make sure the system is fully accessible for people of all abilities.
4. What other important issue faces Madison, and how would you address it? Madison is facing an affordable housing crisis. For too many in Madison, housing is not safe, healthy, or affordable, leaving them vulnerable to eviction, health issues, job loss, and other bad outcomes. Homelessness in Madison—including child homelessness—is on the rise.
As Mayor, I’ll work to preserve existing affordable housing and improve its quality; produce more units of housing—both market rate and affordable; support tenants and prevent evictions. We need to employ a broad range of creative solutions, including expanding housing cooperatives, cohousing, and land banks. And we need to work harder to end homelessness in Madison, especially for children.
Paul R. Soglin
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I am running for re-election because we have significant opportunities in Madison to make our great city even better for everyone. Under my leadership we have built an economy that outpaces Wisconsin in job growth and economic opportunity. While we have made progress in closing some gaps, we still have significant disparities. Focusing on housing, transportation, quality child care, education, job development and healthcare will create a Madison with opportunity for all. I bring the right combination of skills – experience, vision, expertise in managing a complex municipality, a passion for social justice – needed at this critical juncture in Madison’s history.
2. How would you plan to prepare Madison for predicted consequences of climate change? Work, planning, and action to prepare Madison for climate change is underway. We approved $5.5 million dollars for additional studies for storm water movement improvements, greenway reconstruction, and additional land purchases for detention ponds. We had previously budgeted over $1.5 million for mitigation and stormwater improvement efforts. That funding will also be used. We are also working on additional shoreline restoration. We are moving to an all-electric bus fleet and using solar for both public and private projects. We have for a long time incorporated rain gardens into street reconstruction projects and funded maintenance dredging of ditches and ponds.
3. Are any changes needed in Madison’s public transit system, especially for people with disabilities? We are making changes that improve Metro for the people who rely on it most. We took the planning process to the community to identify under-served areas. Next comes Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) which is faster and more efficient and gives buses right of way preference over automobiles. We do need State and Federal support. The State’s adoption of managed care for people with disabilities caused a significant loss of funding for our robust para-transit services. We continue to offer services that are fully compliant with the ADA and working with advocates, we delayed changes to services to minimize disruption.
4. What other important issue faces Madison, and how would you address it? Affordable housing: we kept our commitment to create 1000 affordable apartments. We are setting new goals. We must maintain our commitment to Housing First. Gun violence: our Peer Support initiative works to reduce gun violence. We must increase investment in it. Health Care: Our uninsured population was halved by ObamaCare but that is not good enough because of the Walker roadblocks. With Governor Evers we will expand health care. Equity: We are partnering with County and non-profits to reduce jailing. We focus on racial equity in city budgets. We collaborate with MMSD On Madison Out of School Time.
Town of Madison, WI 53704
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I began my career working in economic development in Milwaukee, and now I run a statewide water policy organization. I articulate a vision, lead a talented team and make choices that impact communities across Wisconsin. I bring extensive executive experience to this race, and I sum up my campaign in two words: green growth. We face tough challenges, but with leadership we can make an equitable, sustainable, vibrant Madison for ALL of us. We can grow our city in a green way, that is good for our health, our climate, our kids and our economy. Together.
2. How would you plan to prepare Madison for predicted consequences of climate change? Under my leadership as chair of the Sustainable Madison Committee, the city has already committed to 100% renewable energy. The entire city should reach this goal by 2045. We live on an isthmus and the dangers of flooding are real. Madison must respond with urgency to climate change. Greening our city as we continue to build new housing, will be good for both our environment, creating new jobs and lowering the cost of utilities. Our biggest opportunities lie in growing and improving our transit system, investing in energy efficiency and committing to the use of clean energy throughout Madison.
3. Are any changes needed in Madison’s public transit system, especially for people with disabilities? We need to look at our bus system as an extension of our roads, not as an alternatives to cars. We must make steps towards fare-free transit in order to grow our city in a green and equitable manner. I support electrifying our fleet, developing a Bus Rapid Transit system and making sure our buses serve everyone. I will center our plans for more housing with transit in mind, explore system changes driven by the needs of those who rely on transit the most. Metro has to be for everyone. It shouldn’t take an hour to get across town.
4. What other important issue faces Madison, and how would you address it? The cost of housing is high. Madison is made great by its diverse communities and residents; we cannot afford to have our youth, families or seniors pushed out by high costs. Supporting new homes is essential to making housing affordable. We should refocus TIF on affordable housing and use the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help keep people in their homes. Through zoning reform, Madison can make it easier to add housing while we maintain the character of our city. We can grow the city in a responsible way by prioritizing green projects that will help lower utility costs.
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I love this city. I’ve had the privilege of representing one of Madison's most diverse districts for the past six years on the Common Council. Madison is a great place to raise a family, do business, and have a full life - but not for everyone. I’m running to ensure that we have increased opportunity for everyone living here. I'll draw on my collaborative experiences as a high-school tutor, a minority tech business leader, a dedicated elected official, and a father of young children to bring needed urgency for progress to City Hall. I’m ready to get to work for you.
2. How would you plan to prepare Madison for predicted consequences of climate change? To address climate change is to protect the world that our next generation will inherit. This is something that the city cannot do alone. Working collaboratively between the city, county, and state is critical in order to make progress. As such, I will establish a new Environmental Deputy for the Office of the Mayor to ensure environmental considerations are incorporated into day-to-day decision making for all city agencies. This will also provide a single point of contact for development planning and intergovernmental planning as we work to protect our health and our environment.
3. Are any changes needed in Madison’s public transit system, especially for people with disabilities? Madison’s growth has created a strain on transit infrastructure, and congestion is an increasing problem for drivers and bus riders alike. Too many people, particularly disabled people, poor people, and minorities, struggle to get to work, school or the grocery store conveniently and affordably due to limitations of the bus system. As Mayor, I will return to repairing roads on schedule, prioritizing public transit options to access jobs in our region, and proactively fill gaps in the paratransit, pedestrian and bicycle networks. Madison can become a model city for empowering residents to navigate our community easily, affordably, and energy efficiently.
4. What other important issue faces Madison, and how would you address it? Persistent and growing inequality in Madison is harmful to all of us. We all suffer when families can’t afford to live with dignity or residents do not trust in the safety of their neighborhoods. Our economy, our schools, and our quality of life will be stronger under a mayor who takes on this challenge directly. I will work to ensure our city becomes more inclusive, innovative, and safe. We must invest in housing that is affordable, promote job growth that is sustainable, and expand the violence-reduction initiatives that I began while serving on the Common Council.