After a frustrating Summer 2020, Larissa Joanna noticed that while many Madison residents realized the need for change and wanted to contribute, they had no idea of where to start. As protests turned violent and attendance decreased, Joanna decided that change was needed. That’s when Reshaping Madison Together (RMT), the newest coalition in the Madison political scene, formed. What started as a survey and a group of 40 people has emerged as a progressive group of activists and volunteers who Joanna says are “fighting the good fight.”
Next week, perhaps for the last time, the City of Madison will elect 20 City Council members for a 2- year period. Among their duties, Council members pass annual budgets that set taxes and determine how those taxes get spent. Those budgetary decisions in turn impact everything, from housing and police, to parks and yes, transportation.
Various politically-minded groups gear up for this event, help with political campaigns and/or endorse particular candidates. Their activity is based on the probably incorrect premise that potential or actual transit riders are as able to vote as others. It should be correct, and the Dane County Voter ID Coalition has assigned itself the task of identifying voters who may not have an acceptable voter photo ID, then arranging for them to receive assistance in obtaining one.
“I believe that District 9 needs a new, young, fresh community leader at the table. All too often, Black, Indigenous people of color are the topic at the table but yet, we’re never at the table,” said District 9 Common Council candidate Nikki Conklin. “And so now, I really feel like this is my chance to shine and break all the odds and be at the table and actually bring the voices of the community to the table so we can be heard.”
Doug Hyant, the current Chief of Staff for State Representative Mark Spreitzer, is running for Alder of Madison’s Ninth District, representing the far west side. With past experience in electoral politics, and a sharp focus on communication, Hyant says that he is qualified and ready to listen to and represent the voices of district nine.
At the beginning of 2020, Nino Amato had no intention of running for common council. After a successful career in the private sector, in which he held roles such as the CEO of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging and Health Groups, the Public Policy Chair for United Against Hate, as well as the President of the Madison Equal Commission- to name a few- Amato planned on stepping back, focusing on teaching, and taking time to be with his family.
However, after seeing crime and racial disparities rise this summer, he decided to run for alderperson in Madison’s 9th District.
The Madison Common Council is debating whether to add a referendum to the spring ballot that would ask whether the council should undergo structural changes by making alder positions “full-time,” increasing their salary, decreasing the number of alders and implementing term limits. Our Courtney Degen spoke with leaders of several neighborhood associations for their reactions.
Data suggests domestic abuse is proliferating around the world in conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle have publicly stated they are seeing increases in domestic violence allegations. Shannon Barry, Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, anticipates the same for Madison.
The Marsy’s Law amendment was supported by an overwhelming majority in this month’s election, passing with 75 percent of the vote. While the amendment appeals to common common sense on the surface, opponents like the ACLU of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Justice Initiative (WJI), say the wording of the amendment is misleading.
Kathleen Chapman admitted she is bored under the current stay-at-home order, but she also recognizes the struggles faced by millions of others around the country — especially people of color and those in single- income households.
“I live in a position of enormous amounts of privilege. My husband’s job is secure. My job is secure. Heck, even my daughter’s job is secure,” Chapman said. “We are not in a position to worry about whether or not we’re going to make our mortgage payments or any of that. My concern is for the people who are going to be more disproportionately affected, and that’s going to be people who have always been more vulnerable in our society.”
Rhonda Kirsch and her husband and son care for 500 cows on a dairy farm in Hollandale, Wisconsin. Kirsch has been a Trump supporter from day one, voting for him in the Republican Primary in 2016.
She intends to vote for him again this November.
“I like Trump for the business,” said Kirsch. “He had a lot to clean up. I don’t know why anyone would want to be president.”