Madison Spring Election Guide: Mayor

by Safety Connection

You can impact public safety decisions in Madison with your vote in the Tuesday April 4th spring election!

Your candidates for Mayor are Gloria Reyes and Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Our Pick: Gloria Reyes!

In addition to previously serving as a Deputy Mayor, President of the Madison School Board and the CEO of a nonprofit, Gloria Reyes was a Madison Police officer and detective for 13 years. She has a deep understanding and respect for the role of police officers in our community. 

Historically a strong supporter of School Resource Officers (SROs), Gloria voted with the rest of the school board to cancel the SRO contract in the summer of 2020 after severe pressure and a demonstration by activists in her own yard. We don’t agree with her vote to remove SROs, but Gloria has recently indicated she does see a role for police officers in the schools. Gloria has worked with youth throughout her career, and we believe she will prioritize the safety of residents, including children, more than the current Mayor. 

Gloria Reyes:

  • Prioritizes narrowing our significant race disparity rate, which the current Mayor has not improved during her 4 years in office. Gloria prioritizes ownership opportunities, while the current Mayor almost exclusively supports maximum-density infill rental units which may be leading to increases in racial disparities, especially in home ownership rates.
  • Supports equipping police officers with body-worn cameras and increasing police staffing to keep up with our rapidly growing city. 
  • Values diversity and diversity of thought and has a big tent approach to leadership.
  • Has signaled in her forum appearances and candidate interviews that she values community input and collaboration BEFORE city decisions are made, and she is concerned about the way some of the latest policy changes have been rushed through without community buy-in (new developments, zoning and bus route changes are several she has highlighted).
  • Is committed to government transparency, accountability, and accessibility and is more likely to lead by example instead of guiding certain members of the Common Council to do her bidding behind the scenes.
  • Is endorsed by former Mayor Paul Soglin, former Madison Police Chiefs Wray and David Couper and Sheriff Kalvin Barrett. Plus she has the endorsement of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association.

In a letter to the editor supporting Gloria Reyes for Mayor, former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray wrote, “What encourages me to support her in her bid for Madison mayor April 4 is her clarity and judgment on the difficult issues we face today, such as body cameras. Her option to ensure that Madison officers wear body cameras not only protects our Police Department but all Madisonians. This is not an ideological issue. This is an issue of ensuring quality public safety and making sure that everyone is protected. Bad judgment has put us in a position where we as a community have faced cutting essential city services such as police, firefighting and paramedics. That is unacceptable to me, it should be unacceptable to us. Now is a time when we need leaders such as Reyes to step up.

About Satya Rhodes-Conway:

  • She has openly endorsed many Madison Common Council candidates, has hosted Meet & Greets and fundraisers for them, and has even donated to some of their campaigns. It disturbs us that if she’s re-elected, she will have to work with those she chose to endorse and give financial support to as well as those she chose not to endorse or give financial support to. As a result, she may face a very toxic and divided Council Council from day 1 of the new terms. Also keep in mind that the Mayor decides which alders serve on each city committee, and historically the favorites get the best, most impactful assignments. With her endorsements and campaign donations, she is already signaling who she will appoint to the most powerful committees.
  • She did NOT get the endorsement of the Wisconsin State Journal which said “The mayor is too quick to mandate, rather than cajole. She seems uninterested in the 50-year dream of creating a pedestrian mall on State Street, insisting long buses must rumble down the top half of Madison’s most famous streetscape. Her disinterest in putting body cameras on police officers to help ensure accountability for the public — especially people of color — is troubling.”
  • The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board also said, “She sent mixed signals, for example, to police and protesters at the height of the tension over [George] Floyd’s death, angering both sides.” You can watch her video to police here and her backpedaling here.
  • The City’s Mayor appoints community members to the various boards, commissions, and committees. If you disagree with the current Mayor’s policies, you’re out of luck. She has shown she would rather keep positions vacant than appoint anyone who is not in lockstep with her ideology and policies.
  • She is endorsed by the Progressive Dane PAC, and will be held accountable for her actions, as evidenced by this statement on their website, among other things: “We make no apologies for expecting endorsed candidates to remain accountable to their campaign promises and to our progressive program. They are recruited to work with each other and Progressive Dane on a regular basis.”
  • Former Mayor Paul Soglin calls her decision-making process a pattern of chasing the next shiny object of government innovation without adequately consulting regular citizens. And notes, “We are not a progressive city when the mayor accuses her critics of being racist every time they raise concerns about her management.”

Gloria Reyes is far more approachable and accessible and values community input and buy-in. The current Mayor prefers to work with department heads to craft her policies.

If you want a Mayor who will engage with regular people, businesses and other stakeholders with a more diverse, collaborative approach, vote for Gloria Reyes!

Learn More about Your Candidates

Mayoral Forum hosted by Downtown Madison Inc.

Crawford-Marlborough-Nakoma Neighborhood Association Mayoral Forum

University Hill Farms Mayoral Forum

Pre-primary Mayoral Candidate Forum sponsored by west side Madison neighborhoods

Gloria Reyes

Candidate website

WORT interview

Know Your Candidates interview

Satya Rhodes-Conway

Candidate website

WORT interview

Know Your Candidates interview

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