The People's Mayoral Forum Q&A with Maurice Cheeks
What is Madison's greatest challenge?
The central challenge we face is racial and economic inequality. We have the most diverse economy and the most diverse population that our city has ever had. Yet, in Madison, the two primary socioeconomic demographics that have grown in recent years are households making six-figure incomes and households earning less than $30,000 a year. My priority as mayor is ensuring that our growing prosperity is affording to the benefit of all Madisonians. Because to be the most innovative, inclusive, and safe Madison possible -- it is imperative that we ALL do better.
What work have you done to mitigate Madison's racial barriers?
In my first year on the Madison Common Council, I authored and passed the city’s Ban the Box ordinance requiring hiring practices that prevent discrimination based on criminal record. This legislation was written with the involvement of leaders and advocates in the re-entry movement. This reform was particularly crucial in Madison, where arrest rates and conviction rates are disproportionately high for black and brown people, and where discrimination based on someone’s past was a recurring concern as people tried to get ahead. That is why I didn’t stop there but then expanded it to apply to anyone doing business with the city.
Likewise, as an Alder on the Common Council, I sponsored the funding that we allocated to reviewing the Madison Police Department Policy, Procedure, Culture, and Training practices, which resulted in the OIR report. This work is going to be critical to raising the bar for what safe policing, and community relationships with police can hope to be.
Personally, even before being elected to the council, I spent years tutoring young men of color in our schools, and have been an advocate and supporter of job training programs that have a successful track record of empowering people of color to get ahead in our workforce.
I recognize that my election would be historic as the first African American ever elected Mayor of Madison, and I’m committed to returning the classroom and being a mayor that tutors in our schools.
Why should Madison pick you?
I’m running for mayor of Madison to take on our persistent reputation as a tale of two cities.
As an alder who serves in one of the most diverse districts, I’ve spent the past six years representing Madisonians from all walks of life. Additionally, as a high-tech business leader in Madison, I know that our city’s economy can't grow without improved access to a diverse and educated workforce. And as an advocate for our schools, and past tutor in our schools, my commitment to our next generation has been unwavering.
These experiences are essential because Madisonians deserve a mayor who brings a sense of urgency to fight for all of our futures and one who can authentically bring together various constituents to ensure our community lives up to our progressive values.
YGB has heard the community's cry for deeper questions with deeper responses that get past the political answers that everyone knows. We're getting at relevance. We're getting to specifics.This is your time to ask the REAL questions and get the REAL answers from our city's potential leader. Moderated by Sagashus Livingston. Attendance is free and open to the public. The event will take place on Monday, February 11, at 6:30pm. It will be located at Madison’s Central Library at 201 W Mifflin St. 3rd floor.
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