May 1, 2015
Ald. Barbara McKinney
“We need to be in these important positions to enrich our conversations,” said Ald. McKinney. “The dialogue will be so much richer, so many more questions will be asked, and there will be many more visions.”
Following this month’s historic Madison City Council election of Alds. Barbara McKinney, Sheri Carter and Samba Baldeh and the re-election of Maurice Cheeks, Mayor Paul Soglin’s new committee appointments have set the tone for the next two years for how the new city council’s greater racial diversity will be utilized to better address race relations, economic development, and community improvement in the city.
Of the 57 Madison Common Council committees, the four Black alders were appointed to 15, including seats on the Madison Public Library Board and Early Childhood Care and Education Board as well as the Community Development Authority committee, which works with some of Madison’s toughest neighborhoods.
Soglin received praise from Black alders for his appointments. In a move markedly different than his predecessors, Soglin appointed new alders to committees traditionally reserved for more experienced members of the council.
For instance, Alds. Barbara McKinney and Sarah Eskrich were appointed to the Board of Estimates, which recommends solutions regarding budget amendments and other fiscal matters. They join Ald. Cheeks of District 10, which includes the Allied Drive neighborhood. (A full list of committees and their members can be found on the city’s website in the Legislative Information Center section.)
Prior to this year’s spring elections, no Black woman has ever served the Madison City Council before and no more than two Black alders were elected to the common council simultaneously.
“It’s one thing to talk about being intentionally inclusive and another to actually do it. As one of the alders said the other night, this is where the rubber meets the road. I was ecstatic about the appointments,” said Ald. McKinney.
“We’re at a critical place in our society. We need to be in these important positions to enrich our conversations. The dialogue will be so much richer, so many more questions will be asked, and there will be many more visions.”
Tuesday’s city council meeting also saw Ald. Cheeks, first elected to the council in 2013 and re-elected earlier this month, appointed by his colleagues to the position of President Pro Tem, which is a primary position of leadership on the council. His election will serve as another key characteristic of the new council’s more diverse makeup.
On May 1, the African American Communication and Collaboration Council will be hosting a reception to honor Madison’s newly-elected alders and serve as an opportunity for Madison’s minority and non-minority populations to meet with their new representatives.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to network and be knowledgeable with the individuals who have become servants and servant leaders and those that are elected and have been appointed,” said Floyd Rose, President of the 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc. and the African American Communication and Collaboration Council.
The event will run from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Madison Club. It is open to the public but space is limited. To register, please visit the 100 Black Men of Madison website.