Madison mayoral candidates discuss the tight race, key issues at forum

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The two candidates for mayor of Madison participated in a forum Wednesday night addressing key issues they planned on acting on if they won the April election.

Mayor Paul Soglin and Satya Rhodes-Conway answered questions ranging from the Christchurch New Zealand shootings, to local policing, at the packed forum hosted by Dane Dems and the Sierra Club at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

Both candidates acknowledged that this is a tight race.

"We’re working hard to earn the folks who voted for either Raj or for Mo Cheeks," said Rhodes-Conway. "That’s part of what I think is different, is we are out on the ground every weekend and many week days, knocking on doors, talking to voters, and just having great conversations. It’s really a grassroots, field based campaign, and there’s a sense of momentum out there, I feel really good. “

Soglin said that this time around, there are some elements that are making this campaign different than in years past.

"Partially because it’s such a close race, and partially because it’s been challenging getting through on the issues," Soglin said. "Madison has challenges just like any other city in the country, in regards to race and equity, and yet we have been one of the most successful, it's recognized in a recent Brookings study. And I would like to think that given how well I’m doing in terms of acting as a responsible mayor, that I’d be returned to office based on how well the city is doing.”

One issue both candidates spoke on was inequality in Madison.

"How can we do a better job of preserving existing affordable housing and making sure it's safe and healthy for people to live in? That's one thing I want to look at," said Rhodes-Conway. "I also want to look at using land banking to make sure that we can create affordable housing near where we're going to have rapid transit, so you can get that nice connection between affordable housing and affordable transit at the same time."

"A new economic business plan focusing on women, communities of color, immigrants, the people who really have a difficult time getting conventional financing to go into business and to thrive," said Soglin.

The spring election is April 2.