Kristen has called east Madison her home since 2011. She loves living in such a vibrant and active community and is so honored and humbled to be able to serve as the District 17 representative. Kristen owns a home in Eastmorland that she shares with her dogs and cats, all rescues. Kristen is specifically interested in improving access to community health services, ensuring water quality, reducing homelessness, and promoting collaborative government.
She has her Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health, and her Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Iowa College of Law. While there, she racked up the Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence, the Pro Bono Society Award, worked in the Citizen Lawyer Program, was Research Assistant to the Dean of Civic Engagement and a leader in both the Equal Justice Foundation and co-president of the Environmental Law Society. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Grinnell College, where she was also a member of the varsity swim team and earned multiple Academic All-Conference awards.
She is an active community member, including serving as: Social Media and Communications Manager, Fundraising Event Coordinator, Foster Home, and Leadership Board Member for Underdog Pet Rescue; Co-Chair, Environmental Law Society, Board Member, Equal Justice Foundation; Treasurer, Heather Driscoll for County Board; Delegate to the State Party, Dane County Democrats.
She currently works for UW Organ and Tissue Donation reviewing federal and state legislation, ensuring compliance, developing policy, providing regulatory oversight- particularly as a liaison with federal regulatory agencies- and navigating the complex relationships between hospitals, medical examiners, law enforcement, the District Attorneys, and eye & tissue banks. She also serves on the UW Health Employee Advisory Council. She loves going to work each day knowing she is helping a fantastic and hard working team save lives.
In the past, she worked as a Safety and Emergency Management Officer for UW Health. She was trained by FEMA and the CDC as an advanced Public Information Officer. She served the Department of Health Services as their Crisis Communications Lead. While working in emergency preparedness she had the opportunity to work with state and local officials, ensuring safety for Madison, Dane County, and all of Wisconsin. As a Population Health Fellow with University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, she started an immunization coalition in southern Wisconsin to address lower vaccination rates in rural health populations. Prior to that, she completed her Master’s thesis at Johnson County Public Health Department in Iowa with a focus on reducing youth smoking.
Gatherings During COVID and Federal Assistance:
Despite the snow accumulating out my window, we are indeed entering spring! As temperatures warm, please make sure to keep an eye on the current Executive Orders concerning gatherings. Public Health Madison & Dane County published a helpful article today, Unpacking Gathering Requirements and How They Apply to Businesses. PHMDC has many other resources and information on the qickly evolving COVID-19 situtation; you can find a link above under "Resources."
Last week the federal government approved the "American Rescue Plan," legislation aimed at assisting individuals and communities in recovering from COVID-19. The legislation includes provisions for stimulus payments, tax credits, unemployment payments, housing funding, and more intended to provide direct relief to individuals and families. The legislation also includes provisions supporting county operations to fight the spread of COVID-19 such as increased overall vaccination funding, resources for local health departments, and further funding for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. Businesses will also receive funds under the ARP. We will continue to keep the community updated as the County receives additional funds / resources. Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher released the following statement on the passage and signing of the American Rescue Plan: “Passing this critical legislation means the countless families and individuals that continue to struggle will get much needed relief. The funds included in the American Rescue Plan that are allocated to state, county, and local governments will allow Dane County to continue to provide housing and food assistance as well programs like Dane Buy Local to aid businesses that have struggled during the pandemic. Beyond the immediate needs brought on by this health crisis, the American Rescue Plan will provide ongoing support estimated to lift millions of children out of poverty. This legislation will mean low income families will be better able to afford housing, utilities, and food, and is estimated to cut child poverty in half. This is a major, consequential piece of legislation.”
Housing and housing stability continues to be a concern throughout Dane County. On March 4, the Dane County Board approved more than $4.3 million in affordable housing projects in Madison, Fitchburg, McFarland, and Mt. Horeb. Combined, these projects will create over 300 affordable housing units. Click here for a more detailed overview of projects funded.
The below is an update from the Tenant Resource Center:
"The Dane CORE Emergency Rental Assistance system began taking pre-application on Wednesday, Feb 17th at 9:00 am. Within the first 24 hours, nearly 4000 pre-applications from tenants and landlords were received! At this point, we have over 8000 pre-applications that we are processing.
Unfortunately, the parameters of this program are very different from last summer’s Dane CARES program. This is a result of the regulations placed on these funds by the federal government. Due to these federal requirements, there is a significantly longer processing time. There are 2 major differences between the rental assistance program that TRC facilitated over the summer and this current program - 1)landlords may initiate an application for assistance (the tenant must also fill out an application that must be connected to the landlord app) and 2)Annual Household income (for all adults listed on the lease) must be verified before an application can be processed for payment. Both are required by the US Treasury - the Tenant Resource Center has no control over these parameters but we are responsible for making sure that as a community we adhere to them.
Per the U.S. Treasury, these funds are also required to be prioritized for households based on income (households with the lowest verified income receive the highest priority for processing). Payment processing began March 1st - to date we have authorized ~$500K in assistance. Payments processing occurs weekly on Weds. As of today, there are pre-applications with ~$9 million in assistance requests that we are working to verify household income, dates of arrears, and ledger balances.
The most common challenges that we are seeing with pre-applications are 1) submitted household income documentation does not meet the requirements set by the U.S. Treasury, 2) all adults on the lease have not submitted their income documents - the U.S. Treasury is requiring us to calculate household income based on ALL adults listed on the lease, 3) matching of tenant and landlord pre-applications who are applying at different times (allowed by the funding source) and 4) ledgers that lack detail from landlords (we are required to verify that the arrears were accrued AFTER March 12, 2020).
Unfortunately, these stricter federal requirements have severely impacted the success rate of applications that we’ve received to date, leading to missing or erroneous documentation from both tenants and landlords alike. To date, nearly 85% of the pre-applications reviewed have been sent back to the applicant for additional changes, documentation, or other inquiries in order to meet these federal requirements. For comparison, with the CARES program, this error rate was closer to 5-10% throughout the program.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue working to meet the enormous demand for emergency assistance. Please be sure to check the CORE website for info on required documents, program updates, and the FAQ page."
Waste & Renewables
On Thursday, March 18, the County Board will hear a presentation from John Welch, Director of Dane County Waste and Renewables. The presentation, "Waste As a Resource," will be at the beginning of the County Board meeting and the public is welcome to join and view the presentation. You can view a live broadcast of the meeting here. The Dane County Department of Waste and Renewables is responsible for the management and operation of Dane County’s landfills, renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities, Clean Sweep, construction and demolition (C&D) recycling facility and various other recycling programs.