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Wisconsin Wit

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Paul Soglin Campaign Statement: Mayor of Madison--2011

I love the city of Madison and everything about it…its past, its people, its present and its potential.

I have seen this City from many sides: as a student at the UW and as a member of its faculty…as a City Council member, as your Mayor.

I’ve worked in the private sector as an investment advisor and as a project manager for a major Dane County corporation. I’ve worked on area-wide economic development and housing issues for the State.

I’ve seen what works in Madison and what doesn’t. I’ve been a part of moving Madison forward. I’ve never been shy about suggesting new ideas and advocating for change when I thought we could do better.

This is one of those times.

The Edgewater, the downtown library, Overture...snowplowing …taxes that are too high, a budget that is structurally unsound, the exodus of talented city managers, neighborhood groups whose input is ignored and whose participation is devalued. Good ideas that go nowhere and bad ideas that won’t go away.

Madison isn’t moving forward or working together or getting things done as it should…as it has…as it can. The next Mayor of Madison needs to have the know-how and vision to get Madison working and moving forward together during difficult, complex and challenging times.

That’s what I offer. That’s what I’ve done. And that’s why today, I am announcing my candidacy for Mayor.

Some of the news reports about my candidacy have described me as a “politician.” But let me tell you the truth: I am a lousy politician. I am too forthright. Too honest. Too interested in the nuts and bolts of leading a city. I like the exchange of ideas and the good ideas that come from open debate and discussion and collective reasoning. I like to get things done.

I’m not a politician. I am a Mayor. The inability of the current administration to get things done and to address challenges before they become crises threatens the future of our city. It undermines our ability to come together as Madisonians and focus our considerable talents and energy to collectively solve the issues – big and small – that confront us.

We can do better. During my terms as Mayor, we build the Capitol Centre and Monona Terrace, turned State Street into a bus and pedestrian mall. We laid the foundation for Madison Metro. We had a triple A bond rating recognizing our strong fiscal management. We balanced budgets.

We combined civic pride with civic responsibility. We made things happen.

Together, we can do it again. One of the first things I’ll do as Mayor will be to meet with every member of the city council to get their recommendations for their own and citizen appointments to city committees so we create a committee system that is diverse with people and ideas.

I’ll get governmental, labor, business, and educational partners together and get to work to create opportunistic programs that will expand employment, training, and workforce development for all Madisonians.

We’ll collaborate with County Government, environmentalists, urban planners and neighborhood groups to adopt a Madison Plan that comprehensively addresses our land use and transportation goals in order to create a safe and healthy environment for all Madisonians to live work, study, and play.

I’ll organize a broad based city commission, modeled on the Monona Terrace Commission, that will produce a working solution for Overture.

People from all across Madison and from across the political spectrum urged me to run for mayor. The people of this City value the services their City provides while demanding they get value for their dollars. The people of Madison want their mayor to envision and enact initiatives that ensure a positive, common future for this city, its neighborhoods, its people, its downtown, its suburbs and its parks. They want us to get things done now, for this generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

With all the serious challenges we face, Madison is still the best City in this country to live, work and raise a family. We are home to a world class university, great public schools, gorgeous lakes, a thriving bio-tech sector. We are situated in a County distinguished by beautiful and productive farms, miles of bike trails, innovative County government programs and hard working, caring residents.

Being Mayor of Madison is the toughest job I’ve ever loved. I am prepared to focus on nothing else but working with every one of you to make Madison work -- for all its citizens -- once again.

Thank you.

- Paul Soglin

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