Fight with and for the most vulnerable in our community
I always have been and always will be committed to fighting with and for the most vulnerable and underrepresented in our community. We have big needs in our human services department, and we need a supervisor proactively reaching out to grassroots groups and the community to hear what we can be doing better.
- The Early Childhood Initiative is doing great work serving pregnant moms and children from ages 0-4, but grassroots groups have noticed a gap in services for families experiencing homelessness. We need to develop a 'homeless' zone for our Early Childhood Initiative to address this gap.
- We provide extensive services for mental wellness, but our providers see gaps in care in dual diagnoses (substance abuse and mental illness simultaneously). We need to listen to providers and increase coordination of care for dual diagnosis prevention, identification, and treatment.
- Dane County authorized a study to examine the benefits of a crisis restoration center to be completed this year. Should we see an opportunity to improve care for those with mental illness, we need to act quickly to implement the proposed solutions and protect those who are suffering from a mental health crisis while having no place to go.
- Public transportation options for adults with disabilities, aging adults struggling to get to health appointments, grocery shopping, and social visits, and low-income families commuting for work aren't meeting our needs. We need to listen to consumers of these services and determine a path forward for expanded services.
- Our Public Health Department promotes health minds, bodies, and environments for everyone, but we're seeing some of our neighbors left behind. I will work with public health officials to determine how I can help reach the Department's goals for their 2020 strategic plan. Some highlights include a focus on active living (about 60% of adults in Dane County are overweight or obese), reducing racial disparities in health (particularly around health insurance and birth weight), and reducing substance abuse in a time when we're seeing increased overdoses throughout the country and county.
Reduce racial disparities
Dane County is among the worst when it comes to the racial disparities in our economy, in our education system, and in our justice system. A comprehensive approach to reducing racial disparities includes viewing health, environment, housing, economic opportunity and education through an equity lens.
- We should encourage economic growth and entrepreneurship in minority communities by supporting mentorship and reducing barriers to capital.
- I will work with the three prongs of the criminal justice system to implement fixes that we've know about for a long time. We can reduce the number of young, black men and women being disproportionately incarcerated in Dane County if we follow-through on wraparound services after release and social services on the front end.
Protect the environment
Protecting the environment isn't just about green space and tree canopies. It's a social justice issue, and includes reducing energy usage, improving health outcomes for our children, and defending our green space and our lakes in every community.
- The City of Madison's composting program has had several setbacks due to cost constraints and contamination. I have spoken with many of you about your desire for a more robust composting program in addition to the manure composting we're currently implementing. I will work with the City of Madison to expand the composting program.
- Dane County is pursuing an aggressive reduction in harmful carbon emissions by 2030. I will collaborate with local activist groups and municipalities to meet that goal by expanding existing solar and wind installations, and retrofitting county facilities with new technologies that improve energy efficiency.
- Our watershed affects our health, economy, and quality of life. I will leverage my relationships with rural Dane County to address animal waste run-off, and work with consumers and urban residents on our own fertilizer and storm water management.
Expand Workforce Housing & Transportation
- It's critical that our aging families are able to get to their social activities, household errands, and medical appointments. I will work to expand our senior transit program so that aging adults are able to get to health appointments, go grocery shopping, and visit friends and family.
- Bicycling is an important part of reducing our dependence on individual automobile usage, but we need to expand it's reach to families and low income communities who would most benefit from additional options. I will promote bike-share programs to expand access to bicycles into underserved areas and raise bicycling's profile as a commuter option.
- The cancelled Regional Transit Authority was devastating to our public transportation options, but we need to creatively find new options for expanding public transit. I will lead an effort to bring Dane County communities together to expand the bus system through co-ownership of the system and public-private partnerships with local businesses.
- I will work to increase housing options for working families. I will encourage local investment in renovation of neglected buildings for affordable housing, encouraging use of sustainable materials, and investigate ways to lower barriers to development of affordable housing, including streamlining permit approval, rezoning options, and occupancy incentives.
encourage discussion, listen to feedback, and be transparent
Most importantly, I want to work with you and hear your ideas so that we can work together to achieve what's most important to our county. It's not your job to find me and give feedback - it's my job as your county supervisor to reach out to you and listen. Leadership is about proactively reaching out to grassroots groups, community organizations, and neighbors. I will be an active, engaged supervisor every day.