Progressive Dane Stands with Wanda Smith

In Spring 2017, Progressive Dane endorsed Wanda Smith’s candidacy for Fitchburg City Alder based on her commitment to public service and strong record of leadership within the Fitchburg community. As Founder and President of the Peace Network, a local mental health service provider, Smith serves area youth and adults through one-on-one group workshops and seminars to equip them with the skills necessary to fulfill their potential as individuals in the community. At the Peace Network, Smith runs a homework club, which meets three times per week to provide students with academic supports, meals, and a safe environment. She also works with youth in the Middleton, Cross Plains, and Monona Grove school districts as a substitute teacher, and has mentored hundreds of youth throughout her career. As a locality that harbors some of the worst racial disparities in the country, Dane County needs to support more service providers led by people of color such as the Peace Network, and support progressive leaders like Smith, to begin counteracting the systemic racism that plagues our Greater Madison community.  Continue reading

Healthy Farms, Healthy Lakes

Two dogs died in Lake Mendota. The cause of their death isn't clear, but it is clear that the lakes are not safe for humans and animals for a large part of the year. Dane County has developed a task force to address these issues: Healthy Farms, Healthy Lakes Taskforce. The task force is planning to meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 3:00 at the City County Building. Continue reading

PD Bylaws Updates

Boring By-laws?  Or Democracy and Transparency? No one likes to work with by-laws.  I’m guessing people read the headline and didn’t even get to the first sentence.  However, they are fundamental to the organization and help ensure that organizations are open and democratic - and that is something that Progressive Dane cares about a lot - and we should be leaders in making our organization a model for transparency and democracy!  So, to spare you the gory details, here’s a summary of the changes if you don’t want to read the whole thing!  These changes were discussed at the last two GMMs and reflect the discussions at those meetings - so it's a collective work of multiple members.  Warning:  The list below might make you think about things and prompt you to think you might have a better amendment.  That’s ok!  Just bring your amendments to the GMM!  We know our amendment suggestions aren’t perfect and welcome further discussion.   Continue reading

Smaller Class Size Matter - Take Action!

By: TJ Mertz - Madison Board of Education Seat #5 Since the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education began work on our 2017-18 budget last November, Progressive Dane Board Members have been working to make sure smaller class sizes are a priority. On Monday June 26, 2017 (6:00 PM, Doyle Building) among the amendments the Board will be considering and voting is one that increases the allocations for classroom teachers for all schools, sets guidelines to assure that our higher poverty schools are first in line for these new positions, and increases transparency and accountability via reporting requirements. At this final stage, it is important to let the Board know you value small class sizes. There will be public testimony at the meeting, and you can always write the Board at board@madison.k12.wi.us. Continue reading

Sponsor the PD 25th Anniversary Party

Progressive Dane is excited to celebrate 25 years as your local progressive political party!  We are having a party at Alder Rebecca Kemble’s house on August 25th.  There will be music, lots of food and drink, and kid's activities. PD will be reminiscing on all that we have done over the years and honoring members from decades ago, as well as our future leaders. Will you consider sponsoring the 25th anniversary party?  Your sponsorship is vital as PD looks forward to the future.  Our goals are to replenish our elections funds, kickstart issue and policy-based campaigns, and try to build up enough monthly revenue to hire part-time staff. Continue reading

PD Pick of the Week: Smaller class sizes

By: PD Endorsed School Board Member Anna Mueller Moffit The Board of Education will be considering a budget amendment that will include lower class sizes in our youngest grades at our high poverty schools, and other limits on class size (the final version will be available the week of June 19th). Small class has been a longstanding evidenced-based practice that has been highly effective for closing achievement gaps for low-income students, students with disabilities, students that are English language learners, as well as students of color. Continue reading

PD Pick of the Week : Mental Health and Jail Diversion

There is a joint meeting of the of the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee (PPJ) with the Health and Human Needs Committee on Tuesday June 6, at 5:30 in the City-County Building room 354.  The focus of this meeting is to discuss jail diversion of individuals with Mental Health issues.  A specific recommendation is to develop a short term crisis/restoration/stabilization program, including capacity for short term residence to serve individuals with mental health issues who would otherwise be booked into jail. Continue reading

PD Welcomes Simone and Max to the Steering Committee

Simone Doing and Max Puchalsky are artists, organizers, and educators who are involved a range of projects that reflect their interest in new media, and engagement with local community issues. Together they are Co-Founders of Midwest Story Lab, a multimedia studio, and several community-based art projects including Justified Art!, CSArt Madison (Community Supported Art), and OFF THE WALL. They currently work as Lead Curators at Arts + Literature Laboratory, a community arts nonprofit, and as project managers for Captured: Narratives of Dane County’s Incarcerated Youth in collaboration with GSAFE (Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools). The pair have worked on national, state, and municipal campaigns, most recently as Campaign Managers for Ali Muldrow’s Madison School Board race. In fall 2017, they will begin earning their MFA in Digital Media from UW-Madison on a Graduate Fellowship.  Progressive Dane welcomes them both to the Steering Committee.

PD Policy Need YOU!

At Wednesday's general membership meeting (GMM), we discussed several exciting projects the PD Policy Committee has taken on, including the Local Government Guide, Housing and Homelessness Report Cards for Madison Council and Dane County Board, City of Fitchburg Platform and an Education Platform.  Our policy committee can't do this alone, so we're reaching out to all members to recruit new members of the policy committee and/or special task forces to work on these projects. Continue reading

2017 School Board Election Wrap Up

            Seats 6 and 7 were up for re-election in 2017 for the Madison School Board.  Seat 7 Incumbent Ed Hughes had two challengers, Nicki Vander Meulen and Matt Andrzejewski, both of whom were endorsed by Progressive Dane.  Michael Flores was retiring his post on seat 6 and there were three candidates vying to replace him. Cris Carusi, Kate Toews and Ali Muldrow ran for the open seat and PD endorsed Carusi and Muldrow. Continue reading