Our Wisconsin Revolution - Dane

meet the candidates

County Board District 17

Jeff Pertl

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

Over the last few years, Dane County leaders and community groups have found near universal agreement that addressing mental health, reducing racial disparities, and expanding alternatives to incarceration must be top priorities.

These efforts have included pre-trial assessments, a Community Restorative Court and other diversion courts (focusing on mental health, veterans, and substance abuse), decriminalizing certain offenses, bail reform, funding mental health services, as well as strategies to address homelessness (day shelter, ending veteran homelessness, and the affordable housing fund).

The 2018 County Budget increased funding for community and school mental health teams, expanded alternatives to incarceration, and included initial planning around a crisis/restoration center to divert people with substance abuse or mental health issues from jail.

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

I have over a decade of financial management and leadership experience, working with non-profits and local governments to balance budgets, while protecting seniors, people with disabilities, and our kids. Throughout my career, I've brought people together to increase funding for our public schools, expand access to health care, and keep college affordable for the next generation of students. I have served three terms on the Dane County Board and serve as the Vice-Chair. I also serve on the Madison Community Foundation Board and Dane County’s Schools of Hope. I am married with two young boys.

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/

Indeed! Three of the great things we accomplished this year on the County Board were:
(1) adopting a phased $15/hour living wage for county employees and contractors;
(2) adopting paid family leave, which pays for all county employees to parental leave without losing their job or income; and
(3) Funding a Voter ID study that clearly demonstrated the terrible and unconstitutional impact this law has on people's right to vote.

Moving forward, the County will continue to expand mental health services in schools, support promise neighborhoods and early childhood zones, further reform the criminal justice system (alternatives to incarceration, restorative justice, specialty courts, bail reform and more) , and continue to tackle racial disparities (in health, education and criminal justice).

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 am unopposed.

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

Absolutely. We've already funded a landmark study demonstrating the unconstitutional impact of Voter ID laws in Dane and Milwaukee Counties, worked to expand access to early voting polling places and times, funded public outreach to combat misinformation, and support legal action against the state. We will continue to do everything in our power to overturn this law.

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

(See answer to #1) Over the last few years, Dane County leaders and community groups have found near universal agreement that addressing mental health, reducing racial disparities, and expanding alternatives to incarceration must be top priorities.

These efforts have included pre-trial assessments, a Community Restorative Court and other diversion courts (focusing on mental health, veterans, and substance abuse), decriminalizing certain offenses, bail reform, funding mental health services, as well as strategies to address homelessness (day shelter, ending veteran homelessness, and the affordable housing fund).

The 2018 County Budget increased funding for community and school mental health teams, expanded alternatives to incarceration, and included initial planning around a crisis/restoration center to divert people with substance abuse or mental health issues from jail.

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?

The Dane County Board established an Affordable Housing Fund, investing $10 million over five years in several affordable housing projects, including Rethke Terrace (https://www.heartlandalliance.org/housing/our-properties/rethke-terrace/). Additionally, we are committed to using the Messner property for affordably housing, and currently are considering a proposal focused on veteran housing.

While we continue to reallocate funds and make investments in mental health program, the County budget is already strained and adequate funding for new services is not available. Nevertheless, the 2018 County Budget funds a mental health study to improve coordination and explore creating a crisis restoration/mental health service center.

However, to meaningfully increase services, realistically we need to present a comprehensive mental health service and funding plan that voters could then approve funding for via referendum.

In the absence of significant new funding, we will continue partnering with municipalities, non-profits and community programs to improve the quality, availability and coordination of services.