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Stressing affordable housing, safe communities, Dana Pellebon looks to give voice to most marginalized on County Board

Dana Pellebon. Photo supplied.

Dana Pellebon intends to dedicate her attention to those most marginalized people in Dane County if elected Dane County Board Supervisor in District 33. 

“I have spent my entire Madison existence working to make sure everybody has a fair and equitable shake. That also extends to my art. That extends to what it is that I’ve done for my job. It extends to how it is that I raise my kid,” Pellebon told Madison365.

The candidate currently serves as the co-executive director at Rape Crisis Center in Dane County and is an active member of Madison’s theatre scene where she has been an actress, director, producer and more. She announced her campaign in December, running on a platform prioritizing access to safe, affordable housing, shelters for unhoused people and economic stability for families.

“Stabilization of a community leads to safer communities as a whole,” she says at her campaign Facebook page Dana4Dane. “A community cannot only react to problems, we must work to prevent issues before they arise.”

Pellebon plans to prioritize the voices of residents within District 33, located in the City of Fitchburg, if elected. She explained that she’s already begun building relationships. 

“Relationships are almost always about connections and making sure that you’re making connections and not shying away because it’s hard,” she said.

 A part of the district Pellebon is running to serve in Fitchburg is rural, so she’s learning about how to address new concerns as well. She said she puts herself in positions that require her to gain more knowledge. 

“I’m also going to talk to people that have the solutions and talk to people that do the funding,” she said.

She lived in the Madison area briefly for a few years during high school but returned after finishing in Las Vegas in 1993. Pellebon recalled fighting to get Black baby dolls in Toys “R” Us on the west side back in the early ’90s because they said all of the Black people lived on the east side. 

“Well, we made sure that change happened,” she said.

Before moving back to Madison, Pellebon spent the majority of her life in bigger cities but said she enjoys living in Madison. For her, this is the first place she could go to a county fair. 

“I joined the artistic community here and what I found as I look across the state is that Madison has this really great theatrical scene that is just really phenomenal, so I’ve been really lucky to be a part of that scene that has such a huge impact on me and my friends,” Pellebon said. 

Dana Pellebon speaking at the Zonta Club Umbrella Brigade Walk at the Wisconsin State Capitol building

She also found herself advocating for the needs of others. At the Rape Crisis Center, she works daily with some of the most vulnerable residents of Dane County. Pellebon leads their counseling and advocacy services while coordinating community partnerships for county-wide sexual assault victim services. 

“One of the things that I’ve been working to change is what happens to people who are most marginalized, who’ve been shut out of the system,” she said.

Dana Pellebon (far left) at the sexual assault kit tracking bill signing with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, and state Senators Melissa Agard & Robert Cowles.

Pellebon also supports funding services that protect and ensure the rights of victims and is a member of the Commission on Sensitive Crime. She thinks about opportunities to work across the aisle, collaborate with other offices and organizations within the community. 

“We want to center survivors’ voices and in addition to survivors’ voices, we want to bring other people in who are not survivors to implement the changes that survivors want to see,” Pellebon said. 

She also served as a board member for OutReach LGBTQ Community Center and WorldBuilders. Pellebon has planned a lot of nonprofit LGBTQ events. Since the pandemic, organizers of PRIDE have had to find creative ways to celebrate the event. 

“What I love about Madison and what we’ve done in the last couple of years is that we have evolved and we’ve done a lot of great stuff out there,” she said. 

The spring election will be held on Tuesday, April 5.