From numerous discussions with my neighbors in District 1, I’ve learned there are many of us who believe our current city government does not represent our values or our views. It’s critical the City Council acts boldly and decisively, prioritizing the issues that matter most to our community, and they simply do not. It’s time for a change.
As a past professional with 30-plus years business experience, father of two, community leader and volunteer, I’ll bring the right priorities to City Hall and will better represent the residents in my district. Unlike our current City Council, I believe in accountability and making tough decisions. My focus and initial urgency will be the top three priorities that matter most to our district: support for the Madison Police Department, leadership in the development on the southwest side, and responsible management of the ever-increasing annual city budget.
First, it’s critical we recognize the efforts and needs of our police department. The actions and words, or lack thereof, by the City Council to date are significant contributors to the friction, distrust and animosity between Madison residents and our police. I disagree with the decision to spend $400,000 to again review police policy, which looks like a vote of no confidence in the MPD. Instead, the funds could have been invested directly in the community to address the root cause of our growing crime problem with job-training programs, economic development, or educational opportunities. Also, I will continue to press for the construction of the Midtown Station, which will improve response times and help prevent the growth in drug and violent crimes. District 1 wants a positive police presence in our neighborhoods, and the council needs to support increased staffing levels and demonstrate consistent confidence in the MPD.
Next, in District 1 we face the challenges of expansion and growth. Existing neighborhood development plans are outdated and no longer reflect the priorities of the neighborhoods they serve. Traffic congestion is increasing, road quality is decreasing, and the amenities families desire most are missing. Opinions on what residents value are being ignored by the city. As a community volunteer, I have led the revision of the High Point-Raymond Road Neighborhood Development Plan, which crafted recommendations for road infrastructure, parks and open space, and mixed-use development. We need similar leadership on the City Council to manage short- and long-term development plans, while always encouraging positive growth.
Finally — and this will surprise no one — Madison increases in spending and debt are just not sustainable. Madison residents contribute 73 percent of all revenue to the city, up from 53 percent just 10 years ago. The growing public burden is fundamentally because more businesses are exiting Madison, leaving residents to pay more. The bottom line is that the City Council needs to encourage more economic development. Not only will this generate new city revenues, but will also address affordable housing by adding higher-wage jobs, close the racial disparity gap, and support the city amenities we all enjoy.
Realistically, cuts in spending must also be made, and frankly I’m not afraid to vote NO. As example, the current budget includes over $30 million to renovate the Madison Municipal Building, when we should evaluate city employees working from home. This not only saves money by reducing government facilities, but promotes a greener Madison, and increases employees’ disposable income and their job satisfaction. The City Council needs updated thinking to avoid spending more year after year on the same budget line items.
I’ve lived in District 1 with my wife and two sons since 2003. This is my home, and I care deeply about Madison. I’ll bring my passion for hard work, my professional and community experience, and my integrity to the City Council. I would be honored to serve District 1 and the citizens of Madison, and ask for your vote on April 4.