Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, the first out mayor in the city’s history and only the second woman to ever hold the office, announced on November 20, 2022, that she is running for a second term. Her reelection campaign will highlight her response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out within the first year she was in office. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “Not even a year into her term, the virus disrupted city services ranging from trash pick-up to polling places. In response, the city set up ballot drop boxes, established a testing and vaccination hub at the Alliant Energy Center and provided grants to struggling small businesses.” The Wisconsin State Journal continued, “Other crises of the last four years have challenged Rhodes-Conway’s term, specifically Republican-led questioning of the 2020 election, the loss of abortion rights in Wisconsin with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the demonstrations of 2020.”
During her tenure in office, Rhodes-Conway has overseen the city expansion of CARES, the crisis response program, along with other efforts she outlined in her speech that have dealt with such hot button issues as “gun violence, car thefts, violence prevention and racial disparities in the justice system,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal. She continued her appeal to voters by outlining her expansion of “other city programs taking on traffic safety, homelessness and transportation. One initiative to lower speed limits and reduce traffic deaths, Vision Zero, has lowered serious traffic injuries by 19% in 2022 compared with 2021.” One of her most prized infrastructure investments, revamping the bus rapid transit system, won’t be up and running until after the election, but hopes to get voters amped up for the changes during her campaign.
Her focus in the coming months will turn to housing, violence prevention, and youth programs. Referencing the city’s newly passed budget, Rhodes-Conway is quoted by the Wisconsin State Journal as saying, “We are focused on programs that are going to help us produce housing units, and particularly programs that are going to produce affordable housing units.” The new budget will allocate millions in housing efforts alone.