Text of Appointment Interview to the Dane County Board Chair
Below is the full content of the response to why I should be appointed to the Dane County Board. Dane Couny Board Chair Analiese Eicher has recommended to the full board my appointment to District 12.
Thank you for this opportunity to seek an appointment for the County Board. I continue to find honor in serving our community through public service and hope that my experiences can be a value to the Board and our community.
It was a tremendous tragedy to lose Paul Rusk. Paul cared greatly about his community, its environment, institutions and people – and will be profoundly missed. I have used Paul as a role model many times and will continue to look to him as an inspiration in thought and action.
I first meet Paul when I was the co-chair of the Eken Park Neigborhood Association in 2003. I just bought a new house in a new place. Paul was one of those who reassured me I’d made the right move.
Initially, I was elected to District 15, which went south from my house and didn’t overlap much with County Board District 12. I worked with Supervisor Tom Stoebig on the Stoughton Road Revitalization Project and a BUILD grant for the Royster Clark redevelopment on Cottage Grove Road.
Early on I worked to improve the Starkweather Creek stream bank in the Carpenter-Ridgeway, Eken Park and Worthington Park neighborhoods. Many of the bike paths and bridges in the area came out of that work, including eliminating a road from Aberg Avenue that eventually became space for a community garden and dog park.
In 2013, because of redistricting, I ran for Alder in District 12 and my engagement with Paul Rusk continued anew. We worked together on improving Warner Park Community Recreation Center, community engagement in Brentwood neighborhood and a variety of airport issues.
I collaborated with residents on the Emerson East-Eken Park-Yahara Neigborhood Planning process that made possible projects like the “Pronouns” art on East Johnson Street at First Street.
Another major engagement was – of course – the devastating closure of the Oscar Mayer plant. Through my experience with the Royster-Clark closure, I knew that a strong and clear government response was necessary.
I pushed for a series of community meetings to understand what the residents wanted and then a city plan that would lay out the basic parameters of what the future can be.
I have been on nearly 21 city committees, including Finance and Public Works. Both were true learning experiences about the workings of government and how to translate what you hear from residents into government action.
Many know of my passion for libraries. My first government appointment was in 1995 to the South Central Library System by County Executive Phelps.
A year later I was appointed to the Madison Library Board, where I stayed for 19 years!
I pushed for the redevelopment of the Central Library when others wanted to build somewhere else or just not do it. I supported updated library branches including Lakeview, South Madison and Pinney at Royster-Corners and new libraries such as at Reindahl Park.
I also worked to create more affordable housing such as Rethke Terrace for our community through the city CDA and the city housing strategy committee. I was involved in the original Occupy Madison project. Looking back, I’m surprised about how controversial that project was and how successful now it is.
I served on the city-county homeless issues committee and found it a profound experience. During these years I infamously worked to try and locate a downtown public bathroom.
I later became involved with the efforts to develop a new Public Market. I was first appointed to the city’s Public Market Development Committee and helped form the Madison Public Market Foundation, which I am currently on.
The public market will be a tremendous asset, connecting local growers and producers such as the MarketReady recipients with the our own consumers.
I’ve worked my entire career in the Madison Metropolitan School District in alternative education, currently at Capital High.
I am a member of my union, MTI. I was union vice-president during ACT10 and vividly remember the protests at the Capitol and how as a community we came together to support our workers.
For many years I was on the board of AIDS Network. I was also on the steering committee for our largest and most complex fundraiser, the AIDS Ride. I participated not only in organizing and leading this 4-day, 300 mile bike ride throughout central Wisconsin, but I was able to actually ride it in 2012 with my husband!
Finally, I would like to end with my role with the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission or CARPC. I’ve been a member since 2007 and have been chair since 2011!
In 2018, we embarked on an ambitious project – A Greater Madison Vision – to survey nearly 10,000 residents from throughout Dane County to understand their concerns and encapsulate them in our work on updating the regional land use plan.
We’ve developed closer ties to the Greater Madison MPO (which I also chaired in 2018-2019), MadRep – including a recent grant application for federal CARES Act recovery Assistance funding – and other regional entities to strengthen the conversation of the importance of better regional planning.
I believe this experience shows my ability to fully engage the residents in District 12. I believe my wide variety of experiences – from the environment to housing, from neighborhood associations to region-wide planning – will also benefit our community.