County Platform

Progressive Dane commits itself to working for the initiatives, democratically suggested and agreed to by its members that are included in this platform. In particular, we support and advocate for measures best designed to achieve: Housing for All; Equal and Just Communities; An End to Corporate Welfare; and Family Supporting Jobs for Dane County.

Progressive Dane believes that Dane County Government should dedicate itself to the following goals and principles:

1. Economic Development and Family Supporting Jobs
2. Open, Inclusive, and Responsive Government
3. Public Safety and Protection
4. Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Protection
5. Housing Justice
6. Quality Human Services


1. Ensure that all economic development decisions are made using an equity lens, including but not limited to asking who benefits, who is burdened and whose voices are not being heard

2. Provide health insurance and a living wage adjusted for the higher cost of living in Dane County (at least 129% of the federal poverty level for a family of four) for all county-funded jobs.

3. Target economic development subsidies to projects and small, locally-owned and start-up businesses/worker owned cooperatives that offer family-supporting jobs, affordable health care, respect for workers' rights, equal opportunity and environmental soundness:

a. Require county-funded economic development to connect low-income residents to skill training, educational opportunities, workforce supports, and family-supporting jobs; and
b. Develop and coordinate resources for targeted projects, businesses, and cooperatives, including entrepreneurial training, micro-lending, business incubators, business-owned storefronts, assistance with business plans and identifying available office and/or manufacturing locations.

6. Promote and support buy-local policies and initiatives.

7. Urge the state legislature to permit counties to enact countywide paid sick leave and vacation requirements and if successful, enact a countywide paid sick days and vacation requirement.

8. Invest in resident-directed organizing in low-income neighborhoods.

9. Ensure a living wage for incarcerated workers.

10. Support economic development that grows and supports the local food economy, including Madison Public Market.


Ensure that an equity analysis tool is adopted and used in all county decisions, including but not limited to asking who benefits, who is burdened, and whose voices are not being heard.


1. Urge the state legislature to:

a. Permit counties to implement their own campaign finance reforms including limits on contributions and significant public funding of all elections;
b. Create state enabling legislation to allow local governments to use alternative electoral processes for local offices;
c. Create state enabling legislation to allow local governments to enact local public electoral financing; and
d. Permit local jurisdictions to employ progressive sources of revenue and to eliminate spending caps on raising revenue.


2. Strictly enforce laws governing full and timely disclosure of all sources of funds for County electoral races; require the County Clerk to post this information within 24 hours on the county website.

3. Support a proactive effort to ensure that all eligible voters are registered and made aware of voting requirements and procedures, which shall include policies to remove language barriers to registration and voting.

4. Support processes to ensure accuracy of electronic tabulation of ballots.


5. Government agencies should make data available in a standard format for public access.

6. Make readily accessible information about the wages and other compensation paid to county-funded employees, including managers and executives.

7. Pursue ways to make all aspects of county government responsive and accessible to the public:

a. Requiring any governing bodies with authority from the county to assure that public input is encouraged in a timely and equitable basis in all public proceedings, including timely posting of detailed agendas and all related materials in Legistar at least 24 hours in advance of all public meetings;
b. Listing all county related meetings in weekly electronic meeting schedules;
c. Limiting meetings held during daytime hours; and
d. Allowing public testimony at all meetings.

8. Authorize county board rule changes by majority vote at any Board meeting.

9. Pay double per diems and provide childcare for committee members at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level to increase low-income community member participation in county government decisions.

10. Support an inclusive and transparent redistricting process including independent review by a non-partisan entity or organization.


11. Support the adoption of an inclusive, transparent, and participatory budgeting process whereby the residents of Dane County directly determine a portion of the County's annual budgets.

12. Revise the presentation of the county budget to make the information more transparent and accessible and include all information online, list provider and program names in budget lines, and explain all acronyms.

13. Explore alternative revenue sources to fund essential county services.

14. Support referenda to exceed state levy cap limits to fund needed services.


15. Support the rights of county employees to join unions, exercise broad collective bargaining rights, and enjoy protection from all forms of discrimination, sexual harassment, abuse and bullying  as defined by law.

16. Oppose privatization of services currently provided by County employees.

17. Take measures necessary to ensure that county employees' workplaces are free of discrimination and harassment.

18. Expand access to transition care coverage for transgender persons.

19. Require that proposals to consolidate government services contain evidence that they will result in improved delivery of services and that cost savings will not be derived solely from reduced staffing.


20. Give preference in county contracts to worker owned cooperatives and firms  that pay prevailing wages or  employ a unionized workforce, provide training to low-income residents, and have a good environmental, safety, labor and civil rights law history.

21. Give preference in county contracts to firms with proven affirmative action records, and to those owned by those members of our community who have been underrepresented due to income status, disability, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, or racial and ethnic background.

22. Change county purchasing rules to create a  transparent and clear Request for Proposals process for funding Human Services that includes community input; and public access to all proposals prior to approval.


Ensure that an equity lens is used in all decisions regarding public safety and the criminal justice system, including but not limited to asking who benefits, who is burdened and whose voices are not being heard.


1. Provide adequate funding for Dane County Appointed Counsel and develop partnerships with the local bar association, so that those who are not eligible for public defender services continue to have access to affordable legal services.

2. Ensure that all individuals in the court system have ready access to legal advice in languages they understand, and information regarding consequences of a criminal conviction.

3. Review all diversion and alternatives to incarceration programs to meet our goals of reducing or eliminating racial disparities, reduce the number of persons incarcerated, and mitigate collateral consequences of criminal justice system involvement.  Fully fund and implement best practice diversion and preventive programs that address the root causes of crime and juvenile delinquency, while respecting civil rights and individual liberties.

4. Support a Restorative Justice Project in Dane County to reduce jail costs, facilitate needed closure for those impacted by criminal activity as well as demonstrated rehabilitative services for those accused.

5. Expand supportive services and early intervention for children exposed to abuse and neglect.

6. Support trying individuals under age 18 in juvenile court.

7. Provide a secure treatment facility for alcohol and other drug abusers as the primary tool used to prevent repeat offenses and reduce jail crowding.


8. Redirect funding from jail consolidation project to fully fund and  support Jail Workgroup recommendations including: prompt repair of safety hazards in the jail; reducing the number of beds in the Dane County jail; returning defendants to the community pending trial,  expanding mental health, housing, employment, and similar services for those individuals as well as for individuals in jail and released from jail; creating a robust program of treatment and diversion as alternative to incarceration.

9. Meet data requirements drafted by the Jail Task Force Work Groups.

10. Ensure that all persons in Dane County Jail have access to health care, medication, personal contacts, and supplies necessary to support physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health.  

11. Protect and expand the right to in-person visitation.

12. Implement policies and practices to support breastfeeding by incarcerated mothers and mothers  in criminal justice system programs.  

13. Support free distribution of condoms and menstrual products to those who are incarcerated.  

14. Ensure access to transition care for transgender persons in jail.  

15. Remove barriers to incarcerated persons accessing community-based care for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance abuse disorders.  

16. Remove prohibitions on consensual sex in jail.

17. Oppose the Dane County Sheriff's department inquiries about immigration status and providing the names of individuals booked into Dane County jail to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency except as required by federal law.

18. Ensure use of force policies have meaningful citizen review.

19. End solitary confinement.

20. Support changes to state law and local policies and practices to end money bail.


21. Oppose all policies that criminalize poverty and homelessness.

22. Oppose punitive ordinances that have the potential to target low income and minority populations in the county.

23. Reject state and federal funding to prosecute the war on drugs at the local level.

24. Treat alcohol and drug addiction as a health issue, not a criminal issue.

25. Support full legalization of marijuana. County resources should not be used for marijuana-related arrest, prosecution or incarceration.


1. Ensure that all land use, transportation and environmental decisions are viewed through an equity lens and do an equity analysis prior to making recommendations and decisions, including but not limited to asking who benefits, who is burdened and whose voices are not being heard.

2. Support climate change planning and response that prioritizes those most vulnerable to its impacts, including low income tenants and person who are currently homeless.


3. Support farmland preservation, family farming, sustainable agricultural practices and livable communities.

4. Oppose State efforts to removing zoning rules from local control.

5. Encourage rural preservation by using Transfer of Development Rights programs in new development areas; Oppose major new transmission line construction and  oil and gas pipelines, and support state legislation enabling county government oversight of power line placement in utility corridors such as existing or abandoned railroad right of way.

6. Continue funding for the Conservation Fund to purchase additional parks and open space.

7. Encourage higher-density residential development in existing urban locations in concurrence with countywide comprehensive (smart growth) planning.

8. Use all appropriate regulatory powers to stop urban sprawl development on farmlands, other open spaces, and in environmentally sensitive areas.

9. Support state legislation that requires endorsement by County Boards of Supervisors for city or village annexation of towns' lands for purposes of applying for urban service area expansions.

10. Support state legislation to require the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to require additional approval criteria for urban service area expansions, including expansion impacts on arterial highway commuter traffic loads, existing local residential housing or building sites, destruction of farmlands and other open spaces.

11. Require organic agricultural practices on county-leased lands.


12. Promote clean water and reduce flooding by prioritizing county stormwater enforcement and enhancing county wetland protection efforts. Support lakes and watershed restrictions on the use of toxins and pesticides, and limitation on mercury runoff from coal plants.

13. Encourage the use of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans to reduce the phosphorus runoff into rivers and waterways upstream from our chain of lakes.  Also, encourage removal of legacy phosphorus in our waterways.

14. Promote progressive revenue sources such as a lakefront property transfer fee to expand water quality initiatives.

15. Support Dane County exercising its regulatory options under the Livestock Facilities Siting law.


16. Support regional transit authority that provides affordable, available and accessible multimodal public transit with subsidies for elderly, disabled, and low income residents;

17. Expand pedestrian and bicycle routes.

18. Avoid major new highway construction, including construction of a North Beltline.

19. Provide incentives for all county employees to use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk.

20. Support a referendum on a vehicle registration fee if it is required for enactment.

21. Support providing fare-free transportation choices.


22. Support county purchasing policies that favor recycled, recyclable, locally produced, environmentally friendly, sweatfree and energy efficient goods; support purchasing significant amounts of and increasing proportions of clean energy.

23. Operate all county-owned or occupied buildings in a way that reduces energy use; audit all such buildings to determine ways to save energy and increase energy efficiency and encourage the construction and use of renewable energy, particularly solar, on county land  and buildings.

24. Require that any vehicle owned or leased by the county should be as fuel efficient and non-polluting as practicable.

25. Promote and support green and sustainable initiatives and practices by business and government both in current activities and in new projects and developments.

26. Encourage local farmers to grow food for direct human consumption and for local marketing to promote countywide economic sustainability.

27. Support publicly-owned regional energy utilities.

28. Implement the Pollinator Task Force recommendations.


1. Ensure that all housing and homelessness decisions are made using an equity lens, including but not limited to asking who benefits, who is burdened and whose voices are not being heard.

2. Implement Housing as a Human Right initiatives to realize that right for all Dane county residents.

3. Ensure that development of affordable housing includes training and employment for low-income residents.

4. Support community land trust programs, an affordable housing trust fund, single room occupancy housing, transitional housing services, the Affordable Housing Development Fund and cooperative housing to further enhance housing options throughout Dane County.

5. Support community-based programs that educate renters about their legal rights and assist them in defending those rights.

6. Support county laws and policies that prohibit housing discrimination.

7. Discourage economic segregation and work to affirmatively further fair housing and hold municipalities accountable to meet these goals.

8. Prioritize vacant public property for housing the homeless.

9. Urge the state legislature to repeal laws limiting local governments' ability to expand housing opportunity and tenant protection.

10. Prioritize and support Housing First initiatives that utilize harm reduction and trauma informed care and develop standards for community funded providers to ensure they are following Housing First practices and using eviction as a last resort.

11. Support efforts of the Zero Initiative  campaign to eliminate veteran, chronic  and family homelessness.

12. Support efforts to increase federal funding for housing vouchers, creatively implement strategies to increase voucher utilization in our community, and create a locally funded voucher program.

13. Develop a housing plan to address the housing gap identified in the Dane County Housing Needs Assessment.

14. Require the Register of Deeds to automatically remove racist covenants in property titles and home ownership documents upon any transfer of property.


1. Increase transparency and accountability to assure a racial and social equity lens is applied to decisions made by the oversight bodies of the Dane County Department of Human Services, including but not limited to asking who benefits, who is burdened and whose voices are not being heard.

2. Fully  fund human service agencies, including annual cost of living increases.

3. Ensure basic safety net services to those who are ineligible for federal Supplemental Security Income and food stamp benefits and Wisconsin's welfare (W-2) program.

4. Support due process provisions in state and county social services programs for those who are denied those services.

5. Prioritize services that use harm reduction and trauma-informed care.

6. Fund legal assistance for evictions.

7. Use surplus carryovers from the Human Services Budget to adequately fund human service gaps; Stop the practice of using surplus funds t to fund the Sheriff’s department.

8. Invest in capacity-building for low-income neighborhoods.

9. Expand access to treatment for opiate addictions, including methadone, in the community, residential treatment facilities, and the Dane County jail and expand access to overdose reversal drugs like narcan/naloxone.

10. Plan and develop one or more 24/7 community-based crisis, assessment, and resource centers focused on supporting persons in the community, and diverting persons with mental health, substance abuse, or developmental disability issues who have contact with law enforcement from being arrested and/or  admitted to the County jail.

11. Ensure sufficient shelter space and a comprehensive day center that are available to all who need those resources.

12. Support 24/7 access to restrooms and storage for individuals without a home.

13. Work to make the AODA services system, mental health treatment, and the Restoration Center more easily navigable by users and ensure that anyone who wants treatment is able to access it in a meaningful way.

14. Improve child protection strategies to reduce racial disparities in out of home placements and support prompt reunification of families.

15. Prioritize Human Services spending to give preference to the basic services needed by the most vulnerable in our population to enable them to live independent and productive lives.