Candidate Q&A: Madison City Council District 15

February 17, 2019

Three candidates are vying for an open seat on the Madison City Council to represent District 15, which covers parts of the East and Southeast sides. The two who receive the most votes in Tuesday’s primary will advance to the April 2 election. The term is for two years.

Grant Foster

Age: 40

Address: 3930 Anchor Drive

Family: Married with two sons

Job: Retired director of health information at SSM Health Dean Medical Group

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Pedestrian, Bike, Motor Vehicle Commission; Long Range Transportation Planning Committee; Madison Area Transportation Planning Board’s Bicycle Transportation Plan Policy Coordinating Committee; Eastmorland Community Association board of directors; president, Madison Bikes; treasurer, Nuestro Mundo Community School; subject matter expert, Certification Commission of Healthcare Interpreters; president, Lapham/Marquette Parent Teacher Group; Madison School District’s Superintendent Parent Advisory Group

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and global cultures, UW-Madison; graduate coursework in teaching, Johns Hopkins University

Website: www.Grant4 Madison.com

Angela Jenkins

Age: 39

Address: 207 Morningside Ave.

Family: Married with two children

Job: Project manager, American Family Insurance

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: President, Lake Edge Neighborhood Association; member, Lowell Community Organization; former governing council president, Verona Area International School; board member, Olbrich Botanical Society; numerous other volunteer-based international organization/professional societies as session chairwoman and organizer

Education: Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry/pre-med, University of Washington; studied information systems, Edgewood College; certifications in project management and process improvements from UW-Madison and Madison College

Website: www.angelafor madison.com

Justin Williams

Age: 34

Address: 4905 Buckeye Road

Family: Single

Job: Campaign manager at Community Shares of Wisconsin

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Board secretary, Lake Edge Neighborhood Association, 2018-present; Out Professional Engagement Network’s board, external committee, engagement committee, 2016-present; board secretary, Community Shares USA, 2015-2018; president, Friends of Capitol Hill Apartment Residents, 2011; LGBT caucus vice-chairman, College Democrats of America, 2009; LGBT caucus director, College Democrats of Wisconsin, 2008

Education: Madison College, liberal arts, 2008; UW-Milwaukee, political science, expected graduation fall of 2019

Website: www.justin williamsformadison.com


Why are you the best candidate for this position?

Foster: My professional experience as teacher, medical interpreter and healthcare executive combined with my community service experience serving nonprofits, and my tenure on the city of Madison’s Ped/Bike/Motor Vehicle Commission and Long Range Transportation Planning Committee leave me uniquely suited to serve the residents of District 15 as alder.

Jenkins: In both professional and community leadership positions, I have made collaboration a key component. I have the patience and listening skills where all aspects are considered, researched, risks evaluated that contributes to overall good decision-making skills. Communication is another key attribute I possess and strive for.

Williams: I will build on my longstanding dedication to community. I will stand up for the people in the district and not self-serving interests. I’ll champion equity initiatives and be a careful steward of tax dollars. I have a deep understanding of social issues, environmental issues and disparity issues facing Madison.

What is the most pressing issue facing District 15 and how would you address it?

Foster: Residents are concerned about the scale and pace of development in District 15 and the impact it will have on the character of their neighborhoods. We need resident voices at the table to ensure that projects successfully integrate into existing neighborhoods and bring additional amenities along with new neighbors.

Jenkins: Affordable housing, public transit, equity, planned development — unlike the city, our district is still affordable but will not remain as such with increasing property assessments. Transit reform/expansion, zoning reform, TIF, and alike are some of the possibilities I would explore in addressing these pressing issues.

Williams: The pressing issues are reconstruction of Atwood Avenue to include multi-use pedestrian paths; redevelopment projects focused on access to affordable housing and opportunities for economic development; utilizing a community-centered approach to local public safety issues; building on public transportation to provide a reliable system that can be utilized by all.

How would you reduce crime in Madison?

Foster: In addition to improving access to stable housing, living-wage jobs, and access to mental health and AODA supports, we need to increase our investment in peer support intervention (Focused Interruption Coalition) and look at programs like Becoming A Man, which provide school-based group counseling and mentoring services.

Jenkins: By addressing the root causes — primary result of certain risk factors such as poverty and housing which can be addressed by investing in programming targeting the most vulnerable. Affordable housing and investments in early intervention through social preventative initiatives — proven to have a positive impact on reducing crime.

Williams: We need to utilize a community-centered approach to local public safety issues. Communities thrive when there is affordable housing, removal of food deserts, strong economic development, and access to affordable, sustainable and reliable public transportation. We need to take a forward-thinking approach when it comes to crime locally.