Rhodes-Conway, Reyes advance in Madison mayoral race

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 5:09 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2023 at 10:20 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Incumbent Satya Rhodes-Conway and former Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes will face off in the Spring Election this April for Madison Mayor.

Unofficial election results in Dane County show Rhodes-Conway with 59.5% of the vote and Reyes with 27.9%. Scott Kerr received 11.8% of the vote.

The race featured four candidates ahead of the Spring Primary, three of which were on the ballot.

Incumbent Satya Rhodes Conway, Former Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes and longtime city government employee Scott Kerr were on the ballot. Former Badgers player Daniel Howell is registered as a write-in candidate. The two candidates with the most votes advance to the Spring Election in April.

Madison Mayoral candidates Satya Rhodes-Conway, Scott Kerr, and Gloria Reyes meet in a forum to...
Madison Mayoral candidates Satya Rhodes-Conway, Scott Kerr, and Gloria Reyes meet in a forum to discuss their campaigns on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023.(WMTV-TV/Colton Molesky)

Satya Rhodes-Conway, the incumbent, is the 58th mayor of Madison. She served on the Madison Common Council and has worked with mayors across the country for over a decade. She was elected in 2019 and is the city’s second female mayor and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the Mayor of Madison. She is the co-chair of Climate Mayors, an appointed member of the EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee.

Rhodes-Conway’s priorities when she was elected are similar to the ones she has now as she looks ahead to another potential term. She has focused her efforts on affordable housing, transportation, climate change and racial equity. Reducing the number of fatal crashes in Madison under the Vision Zero plan has been an ongoing effort in the city, as well as the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit system. She also has the goal of bringing an Amtrak line to Madison.

Another top issue for Rhodes-Conway is public safety, saying she wants to continue to reduce gun violence in Madison and take patient wellbeing into account during mental health emergencies.

Some of Rhodes-Conway’s supporters met at Argus Bar and Grill, including District 19 Alder Keith Furman. Rhodes Conway said she was “feeling pretty good” about her prospects ahead of the polls closing. As unofficial results came closer to being tallied up, Rhodes Conway said she wants to make sure she finishes the work she started when it comes to housing, climate and more.

“I think the results show that we’re in a really good position going into April, but we are not going to take anything for granted,” Rhodes Conway said. “We are going to keep working hard to make sure that every voter in Madison knows the record over the past four year and the vision for the next four, and that people turn out to vote, most importantly for the Supreme Court as well, so there is a lot of work to go between now and April.”

The candidates facing off for Madison mayor will find out who is moving forward in the race after the Spring Primary Tuesday.

Gloria Reyes is running for mayor of Madison after serving as a police officer for over a decade, deputy mayor in 2014, and Madison School Board President in 2018.

Reyes watched election results roll in Tuesday night with family at home and told NBC15 that her campaign was happy with everyone who came out to vote in the Primary Election. Now, she’s excited to jump into the Spring Election in April.

Reyes says she wants transparency in her administration, looking to communicate with the people of the city through community roundtables and town hall events. Education is one of Reyes’ key points, and she says she wants to improve education through after-school programs, which she hopes will keep kids away from violence. She also plans to bolster teacher recruiting and build a trust-based relationship between the Madison Police Department and the schools.

She also wants to combat homelessness with a single-family home ownership plan by using a Mayor’s Housing Advisory Committee to assess housing needs in the city. Reyes also hopes to make neighborhoods across Madison safer and healthier by using community-based groups to take immediate action on the rise in homicides and vehicle theft.

The candidates facing off for Madison mayor will find out who is moving forward in the race after the Spring Primary Tuesday.

Scott Kerr was also on the ballot Tuesday and has worked in city government for over 40 years, including in the city’s Parking Utility division. Kerr shared his concern at a forum recently for the city’s new transit plan.

In some of his top priorities, Kerr explained that he wants to improve public safety by increasing the number of officers on patrol and increasing traffic enforcement. He also wants to expand the Madison CARES Team, which are trained to handle non-violent behavioral health calls made to 911, rather than sending police officers.

He wants to find cost-saving measures for Madison and its residents by analyzing the municipal budget. Kerr also has a goal of creating a system for getting input in real-time input for City decisions.

Former Badger and social worker Daniel Howell is also running as a write-in candidate for Madison mayor. At a community forum for the three mayoral candidates on the ballot, he said he was ready for the challenge that comes with running a race as a write-in.

The polls close statewide at 8 p.m., with the exception of the Town of Brooklyn. A Dane County judge granted a voting extension, allowing residents to cast their ballot until 9:30 p.m. due to a threat to public safety that happened Tuesday morning.

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