Our Wisconsin Revolution - Dane

meet the candidates

County Board District 24

Tanya Buckingham

Why are you running? What are your top two policy objectives?

Fair and healthy cities start with a lot of people sharing the work to make big change. I am running for Dane County Board because I believe that if we want fair and healthy cities, we must personally be willing to work for them. My top two policy objectives are reducing unequal access to resources, and improving environmental quality.

What qualifications and/or experience make you a strong candidate for elected office?

I am uniquely qualified as I have experience and training in geography, environmental studies, data representation, and the psychology of how groups work. These are important skills for a Dane County Supervisor who must consider many points of data, perspectives, and situations, all while building relationships. Professionally, I have successfully led a variety of types of organizations in both the private and public sectors. I have a strong record of leading change by focusing on the goal and balancing the needs of the many layers of each organization. I have applied my skills to volunteer roles as well in supporting strong communities, including the Bridge LakePoint Waunona Neighborhood Center, as a Girls on the Run coach, and as a Big Sister through BBBS.

Will you help us implement OWR’s policy objectives at the local level? How? You can consult OWR's platform at: https://ourwisconsinrev.com/program/

At the heart of my decision to run for County Board is my desire to build and support strong communities, understanding that the experts of the systems at work are those who live, play, learn, and grow in their neighborhoods. Funding and supporting strong neighborhoods includes representative leadership that truly reflects the community, support for meeting children where they are considering the trauma or lack of support that they have experienced, adequate healthcare—mental and physical, affordable housing, family-supporting wages, community policing strategies, and access to transportation. Additionally, to be mentally healthy we need clean lakes, air, and land to thrive. By creating strong neighborhoods we create the foundation on which we will build strong cities, counties, states, and a nation.

As you can see, many of these objectives are in direct agreement with OWR, and they are my motivation for running. I will work to create partnerships that build a strong future by focusing on our kids and young adults, and fighting for access to educational enrichment, job training, and familial support of affordable housing.

What is your plan to win? Feel free to list (or provide web links to) any endorsements you have already received, the size of your campaign team, your fundraising strategy, and any other relevant information.

I was trained by Emerge Wisconsin in the spring of 2017, so my plan is deep, comprehensive, and supported by a large network of successful women. I will speak here about my team because I love my team. Most of them are new to politics, however, each person on my 6-person team has expertise in the role that they are filling. My Emerge training provides the opportunity for me to have this team of political neophytes, because I can call on the mentors and women who have gone before me to get the technical, and strategic advice, while members of my team learn along the way. Part of my motivation to run for office was to show my neighbors, friends, and family (especially my two daughters) that regular people can learn how to do this, and serve their communities well. My team embodies that. I’m so excited to see them learning the processes, diving into this work, and applying their expertise to this challenge—where the content might be new to them, but the process of project management, data analysis, community building, finance reporting, design, etc. is not.

Our financial goals, and voter engagement are on target.

Some of the endorsements I have received so far include, Senator Mark Miller, District 16 Wisconsin Senate, Representative Melissa Sargent, District 48, Wisconsin Assembly, Supervisor Robin Schmidt, District 24, Dane County, Alder Denise DeMarb, District 16 Madison City Council, Alder David Ahrens, District 15 Madison City Council, Mayor Mary O’Connor, Monona, Alder Andrew Kitslaar, Monona, and District 24 Residents.

Would you be willing to fight to suspend Voter ID laws in Dane County? How would you do this?

Voter ID laws are a result of a false accusation of voter fraud, and only serve to create confusion, intimidation, and inhibit representative government. They are detrimental to democracy. I will fight to give every citizen the right to vote by partnering with leaders throughout the state to continue to raise awareness about this and apply pressure to representatives to support the foundation of our democracy. Until that point, I will work to reduce the confusion about what is required to vote, supporting those who have the largest barriers to participation.

What (if any) alternatives to incarceration will you support as County Board supervisor?

There is no doubt that we need more capacity for mental health support, including substance abuse intervention, and this must be well-funded. Simultaneously, we need to be looking to the future, which requires intervention at the most local level. Where can we fundamentally shift the system? Strong neighborhoods. We must support gathering places and community, job training, intergenerational programming, mental health first aid training, affordable housing, and wages that support security which all begin in the neighborhood.

What strategies would you pursue to increase the funds for community-based mental health and AODA Services and improve the availability of affordable housing across the county?

Pursuing grants, and strategic partnerships to provide funds for affordable housing and community based mental healthcare will be required given the budget situation.

The increasing cost of housing leaves low-income families with little money left to manage food and emergency budgets of a household. Decent, environmentally just, affordable housing is required for creating stability for our most vulnerable families—providing an opportunity to increase discretionary income, and saving for the future.

Examples that I am aware of include, mixed-income buildings, replacing blighted buildings, and working out partnerships with developers putting in high-end projects to also provide affordable housing options. I look forward to exploring more examples from which we can seek inspiration, and adapt them to the needs of Dane County.

Funding affordable housing, and that which addresses mental health, or people living with a permanent disability can be complicated. Again, we’re lucky to have community examples from which to draw experience. WHEDA has low-income housing tax credits, these can be combined with municipal and county-level efforts, and low-interest loans specified for affordable housing. These are complex partnerships worth pursuing to address the housing insecurity in Dane County.

 

Anna Gouker

Why are you running? What are your top two policy objectives?

It would be my top priority to enhance the prior achievements of economic development, to leverage more economic prosperity to be seen across demographics, especially the disadvantaged and lower income part of our community. Moving forward, it’s imperative the County Board help our residents have more affordable housing options and access to strong public transportation, again with an equity focus on lower income families to help their futures become more prosperous. I look forward to working with the Board and to gain insight and input from our community, so together we can tackle these important issues.

What qualifications and/or experience make you a strong candidate for elected office?

I believe that all candidates can have a unique perspective, and the strength of a Board comes from different perspectives working together. Approaching issues with a collective perspective creates more power and energy. My whole life I have been told what I cannot accomplish, and I have always believed in the “power of possibilities”, and blaze my own paths past the negative views that others would feel was my lot in life. With this perspective, I hope to show others that when we set our mind to a goal and embrace the possibilities, we can move forward with the hopes and dreams of all in Dane County.

Will you help us implement OWR’s policy objectives at the local level? How? You can consult OWR's platform at: https://ourwisconsinrev.com/program/

If the voters of the 24th district choose me as their Dane County Board representative, I will do everything I can to reflect their values and the trust they would have placed within me. Rather than committing to any one group’s policy objectives, I will promise that, when the OWR policy coincides with the policy opinions that best suit my constituents, then I work fervently to implement them. As a proud supporter of Bernie Sanders in last year’s presidential election, and knowing the support he received in the 24th District, I can say that these objectives would coincide more often than not. But, I cannot make any guarantee at this point.

What is your plan to win? Feel free to list (or provide web links to) any endorsements you have already received, the size of your campaign team, your fundraising strategy, and any other relevant information.

I have a very detailed plan and strategy for my campaign, but I’m going to share it publicly, because then it would not be plan.

Would you be willing to fight to suspend Voter ID laws in Dane County? How would you do this?

Yes, I would support the County Board’s efforts, and join with any future efforts, to suspend the Voter ID law and make voting as accessible as possible for the people of Dane County.

What (if any) alternatives to incarceration will you support as County Board supervisor?

Developing better mental health jail services are important, but a jail is not and should not be the front line of mental health services in Dane County. Non-criminal inmates should be moved out through mental health courts in order to receive necessary treatment. We may need stronger crisis intervention training for deputies and correctional officers in our community. Further analysis of the cost and benefits of such training is an essential step that needs to be taken. We should also look at drug and opioid courts to better serve the needs of the people in Dane County. Finally, we need to address the mental health needs of veterans; 22 daily suicides of veterans in our nation is unacceptable.

What strategies would you pursue to increase the funds for community-based mental health and AODA Services and improve the availability of affordable housing across the county?

I am strongly committed to each of these important areas of concern; improving mental health services, drug treatment and the availability of affordable housing throughout Dane County. Each of these efforts will require support from many individuals and groups including Our Wisconsin Revolution, as well as the members of the Dane County Board. To address the opioid epidemic, I support Dane County in its lawsuit that will hold accountable the practices of pharmaceutical companies that have caused much suffering in our community. I am looking forward to reviewing the results of the study of Dane County’s existing mental health services as allotted within the 2018 budget. I am interested in evaluating the potential for new resources like the creation of a Crisis Restoration Center to better provide rehabilitation and other supports. I am glad to see funding has been included in the 2018 budget to keep Porchlight’s Safe Haven operating, a vital program in Dane County to provide crisis stabilization and case management for people with mental health diagnoses in need of housing. We should consider the possibility of expanding on this funding if needed in the future, to ensure that the mental health population has such supports. There is also a great need in our growing community for a vast increase in options for housing at an affordable cost. In this effort, I look forward to assessing the findings of the UniverCity Alliance, a partnership in which Dane County is currently involved with UW-Madison to analyze the sustainability of our community and evaluate potential for growth. I am enthusiastic for the implementation of innovative programs that will result in more affordable and equitable housing options for the people of Dane County. Thinking outside the box on issues like this will be the best way to move forward with the necessary solutions.