Tyson Vitale is running for Madison’s Common Council to address some of the most pressing issues he feels that Madison is facing: racial and economic disparities, safety and opportunities for entrepreneurs.
“Let’s actually address these issues and not just address them, but address them in a bold way that is effective, data-based and results-oriented,” Vitale tells Madison365. “That gets to the root cause of what is the crux of our problems as a community, which I think we have a real opportunity to do coming up, especially with a lot of the new folks that I see running for council.”
Vitale has worked on political campaigns and outreach for more than a decade, including most recently with For Our Future Wisconsin as a deputy field organizer.
He sees himself as a community organizer and is now starting his own plant business/coffee shop. He is running for District 16 Common Council seat in the City of Madison after Ald. Michael Tierney announced in November he is not seeking re-election. Tierney has held the seat for the past 2.5 years.
Vitale will be running against Greg Dixon and Jael Currie for a district that represents the area east of Lake Mendota and Lake Waubesa. The spring primary is set for February 16, and the two candidates will go on to the general election on April 6.
Growing up across the street from the district he hopes to represent in April, Vitale said he didn’t always feel like he belonged.
“As an LGBTQ, biracial, kid I just didn’t feel like I fit anywhere,” he said.
“If it wasn’t for teachers and extended family, of course, my mother and other people really stepping up and investing in me and dealing with — frankly– a sometimes difficult kid and giving opportunities and guidance and a sense of community and sense of belonging that I needed,” Vitale continued, “I could very well see how I could have gone a different path where my life would not have gone the way it has.”
Vitale serves as vice president of the board of directors for Outreach Inc. and has served as AD-48 Representative on the executive board of the Democratic Party of Dane County, and as a lead organizer with the advocacy organization Indivisible Madison.
He said one of his goals is to create a shared understanding that by investing in constituents, especially the most marginalized and disenfranchised community members, everyone benefits.
“That investment is going to give us double the return,” Vitale told Madison365. “There’s also a lot of talent and capital and people that we don’t actually gain because we don’t make those upfront investments.”
His first move, if elected, is uncertain, he said, because no one knows where we will be in terms of recovery from the pandemic.
He would like to see, however, continued support coming from local governments.
“First off, just making sure that we’re doing a continuation of certain things like small business equity and recovery grants that we started in 2020. Also, addressing again, where should our resources really go. Especially this time when there’s going to be a lot — especially in municipal government, city governments and local governments — a lot of challenges — having to really look at that budget and what we’re allocating our resources and investing in and making sure that we’re doing so in a way that is effective and equitable.”