Mayoral candidate Mo Cheeks hosted a Holiday Happy Hour Dec. 17 to connect with local residents and express his vision for the city of Madison.
“I love Madison and because I love Madison, I need it to be healthy, safe and an inclusive community for my kids, all of our kids,” he told the crowd that gathered for this event.
Supporters gathered on the fifth floor of Industrious Madison overlooking the square and Capitol building to learn more about Cheeks’ campaign while conversing over wine, cheese and Christmas cookies. Some attendees knew the candidate through his work within the community as a technology executive or three-term alder on Madison’s Common Council.
“I lived in Madison for a long time, for like 20 years or so and he’s one of the first people I’ve seen out in the community,” supporter and volunteer Kadijah Marquardt-Davis said.
Davis, who described herself as a “townie,” grew up in Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her undergraduate degree. She just began working on Cheeks’ campaign as a volunteer a few weeks ago. Davis said he represents a new and unique vision for Madison.
“I think the best part is he’s trying to build a future for Madison and all people, not just a few,” she said.
Event attendees received the opportunity to question Cheeks on where he stood on issues such as local government structure, transportation, immigration and housing. He said all people deserve to live in affordable housing with dignity. This includes more beds and services for homeless and disadvantaged residents in the city.
“This is without a doubt an awesome city to live in and raise a family but the reality is that isn’t the case for everyone,” Cheeks said.
His campaign platform includes developing a forward-focused economy that grows and diversifies the city’s middle class. Cheeks said he would do this through embracing Madison’s standing as a new hub for tech companies like Epic systems while supporting local businesses.
“It’s not about pushing out the old. It’s about synchronizing the old with the new,” Davis said.
Cheeks said his experience as a minority business leader, alder, long term resident and parent gives him the insight as to what Madison needs. He announced his run for mayor in the 2019 election back in July and began campaigning.
“I am ready to bring my experience improving the daily lives of Madisonians to the mayor’s office. As an Alder and a community leader, I’ve lead on crime reduction, economic mobility, affordable housing, voting access, food access, transportation planning, and youth and education related issues,” Cheeks said in a press release during his announcement.
He said he plans on tackling the racial and social inequalities in Madison by bringing different voices to the table to have a conversation. Through collaborative planning, Cheeks said he wants to improve the quality of life for all those who live in the city.
“One of the most important jobs as mayor is to bring people together to have a productive conversation,” Cheeks said.
He said as mayor he would focus on building relationships across the city to serve constituents better including making Madison a safe and ensuring city-wide resources are accessible to everyone. Cheeks also referred to the ICE raids during the summer as an offense to the city and that his platform includes ensuring the quality of life of immigrants who live in Madison.
“What I’m doing running for Mayor in Madison is expanding what it looks and feels like to be a Madisonian in 2019,” he said.
Cheeks plans to keep up the intensity of his campaign into the New Year. Residents will be able to ask him more questions about his stance on certain issues during a “Meet and Greet” on Saturday, Jan. 5. Then, Cheeks will participate in a city-wide mayoral debate with seven other candidates hosted by The Cap Time at The Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.