I’m excited to support Mo Cheeks to be our next Mayor of the City of Madison.

I first got to know Mo through the Madison Network of Black Professionals around 2010. Over the next couple of years, I saw his passion for serving our community as he made time to tutor high-school students through the Schools of Hope program, served on city committees, and seemed to always be connecting people to opportunities.

I knew he cared about expanding representation, so somehow it was not a surprise when he told me that even though there were no African Americans on the Madison Common Council in 2012, he was going to run for alder that year and try to change that.

After three-terms of him successfully representing a very diverse council district, I am glad that he and his family are going to take on even more for our city as he runs for Mayor of Madison. From his years of work on the Common Council, his career as a minority business leader in Madison’s technology industry, and his years of working with our schools, I know he is prepared and able to lead our city as Madison’s next mayor.

I’ve gotten to work with Mo directly on the Madison’s Community Development Block Grant Committee, which he and I have served on together for the past few years. The seriousness with which he approaches our committee’s work of investing in affordable housing has been consistently impressive. And for anyone paying attention, his accomplishments as a legislator over the past six years are significant, too. From collaboratively authoring the 15-point plan for violence reduction that the city now funds, to his leadership adopting Ban the Box legislation for our city, and his successful advocacy for city workers to get 6-weeks of parental leave, Mo’s impacts are lasting. It isn’t lost on me either that many of his accomplishments have had a specific benefit for impacted black Madisonians, while also benefiting the larger population.

Today, Madison has the most diverse economy and the most diverse population that it has ever had. As we write our next chapter as a city, we need a mayor who can harness this moment as an opportunity and can simultaneously address the status quo of racial and economic inequality in Madison.

We all suffer when families can’t afford to live with dignity, or neighbors do not trust the safety of their neighborhoods. We are all worse off when neighborhoods are underserved by public transportation, or when businesses large and small lack the support they need to be stable and grow. When people are unsure if they will be treated justly by the law, it is an indication that justice is still merely a hope.

Mo Cheeks is the only candidate on the ballot with the community relationships and life experiences to credibly bring together the diverse constituencies that our next Mayor will have to lead. I believe he can steer our city towards a more inclusive, more innovative, and safer future.

I support Mo’s priority to invest in making housing more affordable, deepening the city’s commitment to our schools, expanding his proactive public safety agenda, and bringing sustainable jobs to Madison to build a diverse middle class.

This mayoral election is about answering what it means to be a Madisonian in today’s age. I challenge you to imagine our city proving that we are finished talking about our “tale of two cities.” Let’s elect a mayor who has proven their commitment to a Madison that is making progress for everyone who calls this place home.

I hope you will join me in voting for Mo Cheeks on Tuesday, February 19.

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