Madison Mayoral Candidates Discuss Racial Disparities, Community Integration in First Forum

Several hundred residents attended a “Choosing Madison’s Mayor” candidate forum sponsored by The Capital Times at The Barrymore Theatre last night to learn more about the candidates’ ideas on how to make the city a better place to live for everyone.

Speakers included candidates Raj Shukla, Maurice Cheeks, Nick Hart, Toriana Pettaway, Satya Rhodes-Conway and incumbent Mayor Paul Soglin arranged in a randomized seating order. Moderators included City Editor Katie Dean and News Editor Jason Joyce and format for the debate consisted of three rounds separated by a lighting round in between each. Opening statements kicked off with Shukla, who is Executive Director for River Alliance of Wisconsin and who sat to the left of the moderators.

“I’m the son of immigrants who showed me that you can do anything with the support of the community and a lot of hard work,” he began.

Madison mayoral candidates debate for first time

In a first lively debate, six candidates vying to be Madison’s next mayor tangled over a host of issues but also displayed humor and wit before an engaged, near-capacity crowd Wednesday at the Barrymore Theatre on the Near East Side.

The debate was largely cordial, often punctuated by laughter from the large crowd. But the candidates also offered positions on many of the major challenges facing the city, including racial equity, housing, transportation, public safety, flood prevention, economic development and actions by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in minority communities.

The candidates offered broad visions and specifics.

Shukla talked about a city that’s “equitable, sustainable and vibrant” for all who live here. Cheeks said the community must “expand what it feels like and looks like to be a Madisonian.”

Madison mayor candidates gather at Barrymore for first forum of 2019 election season

Madison’s six candidates for mayor shared the debate stage for the first time this election season Wednesday night, raising what they view as the top issues facing the city and showcasing a diversity of experiences and personalities.

Approximately 640 people gathered at the east side’s Barrymore Theatre for The Capital Times’ event to hear from Raj Shukla, Mo Cheeks, Nick Hart, Toriana Pettaway, Satya Rhodes-Conway and incumbent Mayor Paul Soglin.

The candidates exhibited a passion for making the city better for all residents, discussing equity, affordable housing and climate change. Some discussed specific goals and policy recommendations they would pursue if elected.

Shukla, the executive director of the River Alliance of Wisconsin and chair of the Sustainable Madison Committee, set a goal of making the entire community carbon free by 2045. 

Mayoral candidates bring diverse histories, views in historic race

Five candidates with diverse histories, experience and vision will be on the primary ballot in a historic race to lead Madison, a city flush with economic vitality and resources but facing challenges involving racial disparities, increasing violence, affordable housing and homelessness.

Mayor Paul Soglin, who has held the office far longer than anyone in Madison history, faces Ald. Maurice Cheeks; former Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, who works for the UW-Madison think tank Center on Wisconsin Strategy; Raj Shukla, executive director of the conservation organization River Alliance of Wisconsin; and comedian Nick Hart in a Feb. 19 primary.

Toriana Pettaway, the city’s racial equity coordinator, fell two signatures short on her nominating petitions, collecting 198 of the 200 valid signatures needed to appear on the primary ballot.

Indian American Impact Fund endorses Raj Shukla for Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin

Indian American Impact Fund, a political action committee that supports Indian Americans candidates, has announced its first endorsement for the year 2019. Kicking off election season for the new year, the Impact Fund endorsed Raj Shukla for Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin.

Shukla has been working in community and economic development and has been instrumental in attracting both private investment and job in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Wisconsin. He runs a statewide water policy agency and also chairs the Sustainable Madison Committee, which plans to make Madison, the first city in Wisconsin to use 100 percent renewable energy.