Black Owned Businesses

We need to invest in our local businesses, especially Black, Latino and LGBTQ owned business that have experienced loss of revenue and have reduced workforce.

Public Market

The Madison Public Market will highlight our local economy – supporting local producers and connecting them to buyers right here at home.

Oscar Mayer Site

Dane County needs to partner with the City of Madison to ensure that the Oscar Mayer site supports all of our community and is not just business as usual.

COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our community. While a vaccine may be around the corner, we still need to strengthen support we provide through Public Health and the Aging and Disability Resource Center so we can be prepared for the lasting health effects that will persist long after this pandemic is controlled.

We need to especially invest in our mental health resources. Quarantining has increased loneliness and suicide risks for our neighbors. 

We will need to work to re-invest in our businesses, employees and communities to emerge stronger. We need to support our working families with expanded child care. We need to invest in our local business through opportunities such as the Public Market to be located at First and Johnson Street to connect producers and consumers right here in Dane County.

We have an opportunity to undo decades of systematic racism. We need to invest in our  Black, Latinx and LGBTQ owned business who drive our local economy. Dane County must be a part of jumpstarting our local economy for all.

According to a  Fall 2020 Business survey:

  • 47% of Black-owned or -led businesses lost more than half their revenue;
  • 44% of Latinx-owned or -led businesses lost more than half their revenue;
  • 53% of all businesses have experienced a reduction in employee benefits or workforce.

“They’re still being isolated out of the funding cycle,” said Camille Carter, president and CEO of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce. “What’s missing from this equation is creative financing, situations that allow for short-term funding of these businesses.”

Some small, sole proprietor Black-owned businesses were not prepared to organize financial documents needed to apply for PPP benefits, she said during a virtual briefing on the survey results. COVID-19 has truly affected small and minority owned businesses.

In addition, a Human Rights Campaign Foundation Report indicate that “LGBTQ people are more likely to work in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitive to the COVID-19 crisis.” The report also points out that “nearly one in ten LGBT people are unemployed and are more likely to live in poverty than straight or cisgender people”

Dane County must partner with local communities, non-profits and Chambers of Commerce to promote a vibrant and vital economic future.

Locally, the Oscar Mayer development plans, a process I began as Alder, targets a high density of living wage jobs and ensuring economic recovery which boosts diversity in ownership and local businesses. Dane County can partner with the City of Madison to ensure that there is substantial community benefit to the site. 

The City of Madison has also been working to reimagine the area around East Towne Mall. Built in the 1970’s, the auto-oriented retail area no longer engages with our interconnected communities. We must continue to work to update the area by connecting the area with bike routes and natural spaces, keeping it affordable to live and work and improving the stormwater management of what was once partially wetlands.


From Farm to Our Tables

Larry buying produce from Hmong farmers at the Dane County Farmers Market in 1995!

Madison Public Market

For years, I’ve supported the Madison Public Market at the corner of First Street and East Johnson at the former City Fleet Services Building.

The Public Market  MarketReady program is a stunning example of how government can support diversity in local entrepreneurship.

MarketReady participants are gearing up to participate at the Public Market. During the first phase of the MarketReady program:

  • 83% of participate are people of color,
  • 62% are women,
  • 33% are first generation immigrants,
  • added 15 new jobs over the course of the cycle.

The Madison Public Market is an example of the interconnections – supporting local economy, preserving family farmland, and environmental reuse that Dane County should continue to support.