Madison Alder candidates for District 17 have been interviewed for Know Your Candidates. For a broadcast schedule, or to stream online to your computer on demand, visit Madison City Channel.
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office?
Diverse personal, professional and community experiences have prepared me for Common Council. My background includes: information technology small business co-owner, software engineer, immigrant, Big Brothers volunteer, Senegambia Association President, board member of the African Association, AIDS Network volunteer and member of 100 Black Men. As alder, I will do what I have, listen to everyone and find ways to meet needs. I have helped facilitate community-police dialogues and worked with area hospitals to interpret for immigrants who are not English speakers. Under my leadership, the Senegambia Association set up a program to tutor immigrants on English and basic computer skills.
2. What is the most effective way for the city to allocate resources to address homelessness and racial inequality?
All our decisions must take equity into consideration. I will encourage collaboration with the county on homelessness and racial disparities, and if necessary, the city must lead. We need affordable housing for all – individuals, families, elders. Housing is connected to disparities. Affordable, strong, safe neighborhoods, served by community policing, not over-policing, and more jobs that pay a living wage will benefit everyone. We also need a day center with access to resources: showers, lockers, bus passes, job information, basic medical and mental health care. This is more cost effective than addressing desperate individual situations as they arise.
3. What other important issue faces the community you seek to represent, and how would you address it?
I am running so everyone in District 17 has a voice at city hall. We need to encourage civic engagement to shape policies that otherwise would not be favorable to ordinary citizens. I will hold open forums where residents can discuss issues that concern us, such as public safety – from pedestrian safety around schools to crime. When people participate, we get better solutions to the challenges we face, and we will make our investments of public resources better match our values as a community. With regard to public safety, I will also advocate for the use of neighborhood officers.