Tomorrow, April 3rd, is Election Day in Wisconsin. There’s one statewide race on the ballot and that’s for our state Supreme Court.
If you live in Dane County, you’ll also be voting for a local Judge, and depending on where in the county you live, you might have a competitive County Board race in your backyard.
On the East side, the two candidates who are running for John Hendrick’s open seat are Pam Porter and Yogesh Chawla.
That race was the most competitive primary, and tomorrow, this area will elect a new supervisor for the first time since 1994.
Chawla has volunteered for local campaigns as a member of the Progressive Dane Steering Committee. His family immigrated to the U.S. from India just before he was born.
He says, “We were supported so much by institutions like public education, by our neighbors, by our community and we had a chance to succeed… That American dream that we had and that we experienced, I don’t think it’s available to everybody in Dane County. We have some of the worst racial disparities in the entire country in terms of economic opportunity and criminal justice. The reason I’m running is that I want to change that.”
He’s testified against the county’s 100 million dollar decision to upgrade Dane County Jail, echoing activists’ concerns that the money should be spent instead in affordable housing and other services, and the county’s criminal justice system needs serious reform to reduce the overall number of inmates.
Pam Porter is a former county executive aide and executive director of Clean Wisconsin. She’s focusing on environmental issues, human services, and criminal justice reform in her campaign.
“That blue-green algae bloom we had this summer on the Yahara River and in the lakes really was a wakeup call that we need to do more. We are doing a lot of innovative things on the county level that are unique, but I think we have to be doing more than just talking about clean lakes. We actually need to take measurable action.”
On the West side, veterinary clinic practice manager Kelly Danner is facing off against incumbent Al Matano for the District 11 seat.
Matano has held the seat for 18 years and has worked on transit issues and advocated for homeless people.
“I’ve taken a strong stance on the issues and provided leadership where my committee assignments and other opportunities presented themselves.”
Danner serves on the youth commission for Dane County and chairs the platform and resolutions committee for the Dane County Democratic party.
“A big part of my life and what I want to do going forward is protecting and prioritizing the safety net… District 11 is relatively well off in that way, but even talking to neighbors, I talked to people who have experienced homelessness or who are in crisis right now and really hoping to have somebody who is going to talk to them and help make things more accessible.
District 15 represents southwest Madison and the town of Middleton. There, legislative aide Steven Peters and town of Middleton Board member Brent Renteria are both vying for Ronn Ferrell’s seat. He’s not running for reelection.
In Verona, high social studies teacher Jason Knoll and small business owner Jacob Luginbuhl are competing for an open seat. This is the seat that was held by Mike Willett for 12 years.
Nina Kravinsky reported the story for WORT News.