Thank you for the opportunity to serve District 11, which includes most of Hill Farms, Shorewood Village, and the neighborhoods immediately east of Midvale Blvd. I’ve lived in Madison since 2013, and reside just west of Hilldale. I’ve experienced our community through the eyes of a student, a young professional working in non-profit, an academic, and a volunteer. During the day, I am an advocate for safety net clinics in Wisconsin, working with state policymakers and partners to ensure that all residents have access to quality health care, regardless of income or insurance status. I’ve previously worked on local public health evaluation projects, rural workforce development, and Medicaid policy. After serving an AmeriCorps service term in California, I returned to Wisconsin and worked directly with underserved teens in Madison high schools, helping them find and keep their first jobs.
On the County Board, I Chair the Public Protection & Judiciary Committee, which has oversight for the Dane County Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, Emergency Management, 911 Call Center, Courts, Pre-Trial Services, Medical Examiner, and more. A few of my "success stories" on the Board include navigating the complex jail consolidation project, improving constituent outreach by encouraging implementation of a blog system for Supervisors, and budget amendments to embed crisis expertise in emergency response and improve the pay structure for staff attorneys to support the timely service of justice. I also serve on the Dane County Food Policy Council and Greater Madison MPO, which administers transportation-related funding and programs across the region.
When I’m not at work or engaged in Board activities, you can find me at the Odana dog park with my rescue pup, Roux. I studied Spanish at UW-Madison during my undergrad, and earned a Masters in Public Affairs from the La Follette School, focusing on health policy and administration. Please reach out at any time and I look forward to working with you.
Today I’m providing updates on a few local items, including:
The County Board is anticipated to continue to meet virtually until June, at which point we will transition to hybrid meetings. Members of the public can engage with all Board and Standing Committee meetings via Zoom or phone, and in the future will be able to do either or engage in person. Specific details are listed at the top of each agenda, all of which are available at https://dane.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Providing these multiple options for permanent engagement is important to expand access to meetings for everyone in Dane County.
As always, please reach out to share your input or discuss local issues where I can be supportive. Thank you!
Elections and Redistricting
On April 19, new districts will officially go into effect when new Supervisors are sworn in on the County Board. I am honored to continue to represent district 11, and want to make sure that all residents are aware that districts have shifted as a result of our local non-partisan redistricting commission’s analysis of new census data. District 11 will continue to include Rocky Bluff, Radio Park, Sunset Hills, Sunset Village, and VanChaMasShe. All but a small section of Hill Farms will remain in district 11, excluding the neighborhood south of Glen Oak and west of Whitney Way. District 11 will also add Shorewood Hills and a sliver of the Regent Street neighborhood (the section from Allen to Franklin). As we get used to the new maps, I encourage all residents to check your district using this interactive map. I am also working with colleagues on the Board on a proposal that would mitigate the division of neighborhoods across districts for future redistricting processes, which was an issue this time.
Solar Development Approved for Dane County
Announced last week, the Public Service Commission has approved a significant solar field on Dane County’s east side, near Cambridge. Read more here: https://www.wpr.org/state-regulators-approve-construction-wisconsins-largest-renewable-energy-plant-dane-county. The article references the important steps that this project will deliver in meeting the County’s climate resiliency and sustainability efforts, as outlined in our local Climate Action Plan: https://daneclimateaction.org/climate-action-plan. We have a lot of work left to make the plan’s proposals a reality, but the 2,300 acre solar array is a significant investment.
District 11 Resident Featured for Hoyt Park Volunteerism
Last week, the Wisconsin State Journal ran a wonderful article about a district 11 resident and their conservation efforts in Hoyt Park: https://madison.com/news/local/civil-engineer-is-decades-long-friend-to-near-west-side-conservation-park/article_dcc775fa-b429-54ec-9a4a-8bf8bdee09d3.html. Kudos to Tim, Friends of Hoyt Park, and all the volunteers who continue to make Hoyt Park a special place in our community.
5418 South Hill
I’m providing information regarding a residential property in the neighborhood at 5418 South Hill, just west of Whitney Way. This is a residential home that has been tax deeded, meaning that the county, consistent with state statute, has taken ownership over the home as the former owners were delinquent on taxes for several years and had abandoned the property. This happens for a dozen or so properties (residential or commercial) each year. The South Hill home was originally appraised at $590,000 and auctioned in October with no bids, and has been vacant since that time. Thoughtful neighbors have been tending to the yard and keeping an eye on the home for several years. Last week, I requested that the County Treasurer remove the property from an upcoming auction, as there is an opportunity for the home to potentially become permanent affordable housing.
One of the primary issues that I hear about from residents of district 11 is that local government needs to put more resources into permanent affordable housing. This is also near and dear to my heart, and a priority that I take seriously. Within the last 2 weeks, a local non-profit developer came forward with a proposal to pursue permanent affordable housing for the residence at 5418 South Hill. While there are many, many questions to be discussed, removing the home from the auction allows the City and County to fully vet the options for permanent affordable housing, and weigh both the pros and the cons, with input from the neighborhood. There is no commitment at this point to any particular developer or for any specific type of project, only an opportunity to evaluate the options and gain public input on those options. I believe that pursuing this proposal would also be a great route to keep the property not only permanently affordable, but also out of the hands of short-term renters as an Airbnb or similar.
The home is a unique case as it is located near a bus route and access to many public amenities, and needs updates but nothing near a tear-down. In a show of good faith, the developer has even offered to bring in their volunteer Board and clean up the home as a first step, which is a generous offer. I firmly believe that every unit of affordable housing, especially sites that are integrated into wonderful, welcoming neighborhoods like Hill Farms, is another step at building a more sustainable, diverse community.
What’s next? I will encourage Alder Martin and the County to hold a public meeting on the topic by mid-May at the latest. The City and County will need to consider many tradeoffs, potential legal and zoning issues, and more. At worst, it will be back up for auction in October. At best, I see a real benefit in creating more permanent affordable housing in our community. This is more important than ever as we all know that rents and home prices continue to soar. I understand that neighbors have questions and concerns about the property, and I am happy to have those discussions, and encourage you to reach out.