Since he was 17 years old, Wes Sparkman has called Dane County his home, and now he wants to lead it as Dane County Executive.
Sparkman formally announced his campaign for the Dane County Executive at the City Council Building on Thursday night. Sparkman’s platform aims to use evidence-based tactics to tackle poverty, address mental health, addiction recovery, affordable childcare and housing.
“Our current Dane County Executive, after an extraordinary job, has decided to resign in the month of May 2024,” Sparkman said. “Following the selection of an interim executive, I will join the primary as a candidate in August of this year. Now, I do not make this decision lightly — I’m happily married with a wife and four children.”
The current County Executive, Joe Parisi, announced his retirement this past October after 13 years in the role. Parisi’s departure in May prevents his replacement from being elected in April. A special election to fill the position, which Sparkman will run for, will take place in November.
Sparkman has worked to promote equity in Dane County for the past 25 years.
He currently serves as the chairman of the SSM Health Wisconsin’s board of directors, vice-chair of the UW-Madison School of Sociology’s Board of Visitors, the director of the Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion.
“I served Dane County for 25 years as a faithful employee,” Sparkman said. “So why will I be your next county executive? I will be your next county executive because I love Dane County. I’ve been living here since I was 17 years old. I care about all of the people and I’m the best candidate to move Dane County forward.”
Sparkman is an alumnus of UW-Madison and a recipient of the Robert M. La Follette 2023 Alumni of Distinction Award. Madison365 recognized Sparkman as one of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black Leaders in 2016.