|DECISION 2011: CANDIDATES ANSWER THE HUES'
QUESTIONS FOR THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CANDIDATES
1. What is meant by “The Rule of Law”? How perfectly are justices able to attain that standard?
2. In what types of situations should a justice recuse him or herself from deciding a case? Please
be as specific as possible.
3. The state of Wisconsin has one of the highest incarceration rates of African Americans in the
United States. What — if anything — can Wisconsin’s court system do to lower this rate?
4. If you had to pick one component of Wisconsin’s court system to reform, what would that
component be? Why?
5. Which of your attributes would make you a good Supreme Court justice?
1. The rule of law means that no one is above the law. We are, as John Adams said, a nation
of laws, not men (or women, one should add). We aspire to be that nation and in striving to
be so, equal treatment under the law and an independent judiciary are critical. As a Supreme
Court Justice, I will uphold the rule of law and I will be a Justice who decides cases on the
facts and law, without prejudging cases or seeking outcomes that align with any partisan,
2. Wisconsin law requires recusal in a number of circumstances, including: when the judge
is related to one of the lawyers or parties involved in the case; when the judge has personal
knowledge of any of the disputed facts or circumstances underlying the dispute; and when
the judge has a significant personal or financial interest in the outcome of the case. I believe
that, in addition, a judge should recuse herself from deciding a case any time the judge’s
ability to be impartial could reasonably be questioned. In the area of campaign contributions,
I believe that this means that a judge should consider factors such as the amount of the
contribution and its size compared to other contributions the campaign received.
3. There are many thoughtful experts looking at this issue and a number of groups, such as
The Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, which
have made recommendations. Specialty Courts, that hold offenders accountable while
reducing recidivism and/or providing an avenue to drug and alcohol treatment, are proving
to be effective and should help in the area of disproportionate minority confinement. Further,
each and every one of us involved in the Court system must be vigilant, mindful and
thoughtful about what more we can do as individuals and what more we can do as a system.
4. This is the first election in which Wisconsin’s Impartial Justice Act – which provides
public financing to candidates who agree to strictly limit spending and refuse special interest
money – applies to the campaign for Supreme Court. This legislative change has the
potential to improve the operations of the court by helping to restore confidence in the courts
and judges as impartial and independent.
5. My independence. I’ve been a prosecutor at Wisconsin’s Department of Justice since
1989, representing all the people of Wisconsin and serving under Attorneys General from
both parties. My legal experience includes constitutional, appellate, civil litigation,
environmental prosecution, administrative and criminal law. I’ve argued numerous cases in
circuit courts around the state, the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Wisconsin Court of
Appeals. The law’s effect on people’s lives is profound and powerful. American democracy
is, in part, built upon our willingness to accept the decisions courts reach as lawful, whether
we agree with those decisions or not. That is why it is imperative we have Supreme Court
justices who are independent, fair and impartial. That is why it is imperative that Wisconsin
residents have confidence the Supreme Court will decide cases based on the facts and the
law, not partisan politics. My opponent’s campaign said that re-electing Justice Prosser will
“protect the conservative majority” and that the court will be a “complement” to Governor
Walker and the Republican legislature. That approach is wrong. We need Justices who do
not prejudge cases, do not align themselves with partisan political agenda and who are
committed to seeing the Court as a co-equal branch of government.
1. I describe myself as a rule of law justice, and a judicial conservative. A rule of law
justice emphasizes the means, not the ends, meaning the attempt is to uphold and fairly
apply existing law and not create new law. This means applying statutory text and the plain
language of contracts, following precedent, upholding laws and agreements.
2. The Impartial Justice Act was created in many ways as a response to aid in the
alleviation of questions regarding conflicts-of-interest and in-turn recusal rules. In addition,
we have court rules in place that further define conflicts, and call the need for recusals.
3. While a serious problem, I am not sure if this is best answered by a member of the courts,
or a member of the legislative/policy making body. Members of the court are charged with
applying the law, not creating.
4. I have state on the record that I believe that an outside, independent body review the
operations of the court to make sure it is running most-efficiently and effectively, utilizing the
broad talent that is embodied within all levels of the court.
5. My experience separates me from my opponent. I have served as a Justice on the
Wisconsin Supreme Court for more than 12 years — after an appointment in 1998 and
election without opposition in 2001. I am the only justice with legislative experience and the
only judge seeking office. I am running because I enjoy the work, think I am good at it, bring
a different perspective to the court, and often serve to moderate debate and mediate
disagreements within the court.
QUESTIONS FOR THE DANE COUNTY EXECUTIVE CANDIDATES
1. To what extent will people of color be appointed to decision-making positions within your
2. Dane County has one of the highest incarceration rates of African American youth in the United
States. What measures can the county take to reduce this high rate?
3. What initiatives will you undertake to expand the level of the purchasing of the goods and
services of minority business enterprises (MBEs) by private and public decision makers?
4. What transportation policies will you put in place to ensure that “working poor” individuals can
reach employment opportunities throughout the county?
5. Given the fact that the majority of undocumented workers (some refer to them as illegal
immigrants) play a significant role in the hospitality, agricultural and other labor-intensive sectors
of Dane County’s economy and that many of their children are U.S. citizens, to what extent should
county government “officially” recognize their presence in the county’s policies?
6. What is the current state of Dane County’s human services system? Are there any changes
that you would make to the system? Why?
1. I will be seeking highly motivated and competent people of all races to be part of my
executive team and they will be responsible to all the people of Dane County. Cultural
sensitivity is a prerequisite for any job in my administration. For example, one of my valued
campaign advisors is an African American gentleman and I would be thrilled to have him in
my administration. My staff will have the necessary skills and character to serve the
people of Dane County justly.
2. This issue matters to me greatly, and I have worked with other interested members of the
community to develop new and effective long-run solutions to fighting crime. As a member
of the Health and Human Needs Committee, I attended a meeting of all city and county
agency staff that dealt with the tragic murder of a young man in the Meadowood
Neighborhood in Madison. They were looking for new solutions. After that meeting, I met
with Jon Mortrud and Jim Huff of Midwest Recycling, Inc. and 2nd Life America, Inc., two
gentlemen who have helped incarcerated people re-establish themselves in the community
and find jobs. I suggested that they could modify their program so that it seeks out and
targets young people BEFORE they go to prison; let’s engage them early. Madison Police
Chief Noble Wray and the Neighborhood Intervention Program Director Stephen Blue were
receptive to my idea. They agreed to do a pilot program that took four young, identified gang
members and set them up with a summer job and life coaching with their families. While
they were enrolled in this program, these young people (three boys and one girl) were not
arrested, while members of their gangs were. These young people were busy improving
their self esteem by earning a wage and learning about their strengths and potential to make
it in the world. This was a partnership between the business and faith communities as well
as government and law enforcement. It worked spectacularly and can be expanded. I am
committed to bringing creative solutions like this to young people so that they can remain
free and productive.
3. I will work to cut the red tape and needless paper work that imposes unnecessary costs
on all businesses, but particularly smaller and minority-owned businesses that often do not
employ legal and other workers who specialize in dealing with these regulatory burdens. It
should also be recognized that the most difficult obstacle facing all business is the current
downturn in the economy. As the next County Executive, I would work to expedite
permitting of new development and foster a welcoming atmosphere for new and emerging
businesses in Dane County. We have tremendous resources and a competent and talented
workforce including our MBEs and MWEs. I am a businesswoman and I understand that the
business community needs to be equal partners in economic development.
4. I believe the RTA hasn’t done the necessary work to find out what the transportation
needs are of the working poor and for commuters in general. The RTA has focused almost
entirely on commuter rail to serve the University and Downtown. It was also willing to
spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build a commuter rail line regardless of what the
people of Dane County wanted. Commuter rail would be an enormous waste of money,
because buses can provide the same or better service to commuters at a lower cost. As
County Executive, I would start from the bottom up — by first asking what the needs are of
workers, employers, customers, and delivery vehicles. I would then design a public
transportation system to serve the people’s real needs, as efficiently as possible. The bus
line to Epic in Verona and the Middleton bus service are examples of providing good public
transit to and from areas where there is a demonstrated need. Those who rely on public
transit — including the working poor, elderly, children, and those with disabilities - —
should have a public transit system designed around their needs, not the ideology of a
bureaucracy or political elite.
5. The County has no official jurisdiction in matters of immigration. I want all people who
reside in Dane County to be safe in their homes, at work or school, and in public places. I
am committed to ensuring that Dane County provides safety and security for all residents.
As County Executive I will work toward creating and maintaining jobs in all sectors of the
economy so that our residents and their families can be successful.
6. The human services system has been stressed by increased demands for services due
to the economic downturn and by continual cuts to the budget. This is due in part to the
County’s borrowing, which has tripled over the last 10 years, primarily to buy land for
conservation and for day-to-day operating expenses. Each dollar borrowed costs $1.40 to
pay back. This is not good financial management. Funds that might have gone for human
services are instead diverted to pay down debt. The changes I would make include 1) an
evaluation of the programs and services that are currently being provided to ensure that
human service needs are met in the most efficient and cost-effective manner; the County
has hundreds of programs which have not been evaluated for years, and we don’t know if
we are funding success or failure. 2) United Way has suggested that mergers of service
agencies may be beneficial; I would examine potential mergers carefully and look for ways
to streamline the delivery of human services; 3) there is tremendously burdensome and
unnecessary paperwork that could be eliminated, especially in the area of developmental
disabilities; and 4) I would encourage more faith based initiatives.
1. I believe it is preferable that the ethnic and racial make-up of the county's workforce reflect
the make-up of the county.
2. I had the opportunity to work on this issue when I served as the Chair of the Assembly
Committee on Corrections and the Courts. I support the work the Implementation Team and
County Executive Falk has already done, including bringing the courts, the DA’s office, and the
Sheriff’s office together to work on this issue, and addressing license reinstatement among
minority youth. Driving with a revoked license can lead to greater involvement in the criminal
justice system, and is an obstacle in getting a job.
We must be active in the community with programming aimed at the root causes of
incarceration and the disproportionate incarceration of young African American males.
Incarceration rates, especially among young African American males, began to sky-rocket
during the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the wars on crime and drugs; however, incarcerating
people for non-violent drug offenses is usually counterproductive, and it disproportionately
affects African American males, despite the fact that levels of drug use among African
Americans is no higher than it is among White Americans. We need to stop basing criminal
justice policies on rhetoric and begin basing our policies on what works: treatment, education,
3. I would look for input from the community. Our goal here should be the same as that
mentioned above: a business community that reflects the greater community.
4. If our community is going to continue to thrive, all of our citizens must have a good mode of
transportation to live and work. I believe that the county must have a balanced approach to
transportation issues that includes highways, mass transit, and paratransit. And I believe that
commuter rail should be a part of that approach – I voted to create RTA in the legislature. Now
we have a mechanism in place that can make commuter rail a reality if the people of our
community approve it – but we must take care to fund it without putting an unsolvable burden on
This balanced approach must also be a regional approach. I want to gather input from citizens
and leaders on all levels of local government, inside and outside of Madison, so that we can
make smart choices and use our limited resources wisely.
5. In the legislature, with the support of agriculture groups and public safety advocates, I voted
to authorize driver’s cards for undocumented workers. And I believe that services such as
those for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault should be available for everyone. I’
m open to learning more about this issue.
6. We must be prepared to do more with less in all areas of county government, but protecting
human services from deep cuts during budget time is a priority for me. We know that when we
address the root causes of the problems in our community, and when we invest in solutions up
front, we can save money, time, and resources in the long run – in addition to helping families in
our community succeed.
We do not yet know what kind of budget hand we will be dealt, however. The county will be
affected by the new political reality in state government, but we will not know how until
Governor Walker reveals his budget. Will shared revenue be cut? Will it be frozen? Regardless
of his approach, I will stand up for us and work for a fair deal for Dane County.
Our approach must be surgical. We must analyze where our money is being spent, and make
sure that it is being spent on programs and projects that are proven to work, or that can be
adapted to work in Dane County.
QUESTIONS FOR THE MADISON MAYOR CANDIDATES
1. To what extent will people of color be appointed to decision-making positions within your
administration and on city committees and boards? What is your track record in this area?
2. What initiatives will you undertake to expand the level of the purchasing of goods and services
of minority business enterprises (MBEs) by private and public decision makers?
3. To what extent should undocumented workers be allowed to access and utilize goods and
services provided by city government?
4. How would you describe your leadership style and how will that leadership style be of benefit
to the city in today’s political and financial climate.
5. If the city of Madison receives cuts in funding from the state and/or federal government in the
upcoming state and federal budget cycles, what areas of the city budget would be spared budget
cuts and which would be open to budget cuts? Why?
6. What initiatives and programs would you undertake to ensure an adequate supply of affordable
housing for low-income families that meet or exceed city housing codes?
1. My goal has always been to make appointments that are representative of our community.
That’s why I asked Lucia Nuñez, our director of the Department of Civil Rights, to compile an
annual report on whether we’ve met those goals and recommendations on how we can
It’s also why I asked Lucia, along with our Community Development Director Bill Clingan and
my staff to work together with the Urban League and the Madison Network of Black
Professionals to hold public meetings aimed at recruiting people to get involved and apply to
be on a city committee. Those meetings resulted in several appointments. I also include
Lucia in every committee appointment meeting I hold, so she can help us work toward
making our goals.
With these efforts, we’ve made improvements. In fact, the percentage of ethnic and racial
minorities in the city’s workforce is higher now than it ever was in my opponent’s time in
office. And last year, our percentage of ethnic and racial minorities serving on city
committees increased to 15.4%. We’ll continue aggressive outreach and tracking so that we
can meet our goals.
2. The city has adopted an affirmative action plan and requires similar efforts from vendors,
contractors and other firms that we do business with. We also support minority small
businesses through funding to the Latino Chamber of Commerce and the African
American/Black Business Association.
I also recently met with Dr. Floyd Rose from the Wisconsin Supplier Development Council, Dr.
Ruben Anthony, former Deputy Secretary of the WI Department of Transportation and Bob Wynn
with Asset Builders of America to begin discussions on developing a purchasing program
that we may be able to model after the successful state program.
3. We aim to provide high quality services to everyone who lives in the city of Madison.
Those who work hard and pay taxes should be able to access services that their taxes pay
4. I’m the anti-Walker. I listen first. I seek out different points of view, build consensus and
compromise to move forward. I understand that I work for everyone.
At a time when our governor first attacked the rights of workers, and then delivered one of
the most draconian, divisive budgets in recent state history, Madison needs a mayor that has
the energy and vision to stand up for this community and who will bring people together as
Scott Walker tries to divide us. That’s what I bring to this race.
And, with that Madison approach and with consistent and steady leadership, I’ve shown you
can get results even in tough times.
In the midst of recession, we’ve kept our Aaa bond rating and we’ve improved services. We’
ve been rated the most secure city in the nation. Our unemployment is one of the lowest in
the country and our economy is one of the strongest.
We are not just weathering the storm, but we are making progress. Tough times and tough
challenges have not stopped me from working for a better future for our community.
5. It’s far too soon to talk about specific cuts. First, we need to join with our partners to fight
to change Scott Walker’s divisive, draconian state budget. We must work together as a
community to stand united against drastic cuts in the budget. And, we’ll join with our
municipal neighbors to make changes. This budget isn’t just bad for Madison – it’s bad for
local governments and school districts across Wisconsin.
Then, we need to have an open, inclusive process for the city’s budget in order to strike a
fair balance between our workers and taxpayers. We’ll work cooperatively with our unions
and non-represented employees, our neighborhoods and our business community, in
addressing this challenge the Madison way: with care for the least fortunate among us, with
transparency in the process and with innovation and creativity.
I’ve managed the city budget through three years of recession budgets without service cuts
or financial gimmicks. In fact, we are one of the only cities in the nation to maintain our Aaa
bond rating. This top rating is based on our sound fiscal management and budgetary control.
Our debt burden is lower and our fund balance is higher than when my opponent was mayor.
Together, we have a record of getting things done even in the face of tough challenges. And I’
m confident that even as Scott Walker pushes divisive, draconian policies, we will fight
back together to ensure an even better future for our community.
6. The CDA does an excellent job with managing the city’s public housing. I have invested
heavily in affordable housing projects like quality, affordable housing on Allied Drive, the
redevelopment of low-income housing at Truax Park and new affordable housing for seniors
at Burr Oaks.
But we also need to plan for the future. That’s why I asked the city’s housing committee to
develop a strategic housing plan for our city’s future.
It’s also important that we work comprehensively and collaboratively on that plan, which is
why I restructured the City’s Housing Committee to make it more representative of our
community. It now includes a representative of the school board and the CDA, among others.
1. I have a long history of appointing people of color to my staff and to city committees and
boards. My administration implemented the city’s Affirmative Action program with its
emphasis on recruitment and creating a culture of openness. You must also reach out and
sincerely ask for nominations and references. The results were evident in the racial, cultural,
and ethnic diversity of the city staff, particularly the protective services. When I left office,
eight city agencies were headed by people of color and/or women. During my tenure, people
of color served on committees in excess to their numbers in Madison’s population. I
appointed the first African Americans and Hispanics to the Police and Fire Commission and
the Plan Commission – the point being that people of color were traditionally appointed to
committees that addressed social services.
2. I will reinstitute programs for contract compliance and procurement which encourage
MBEs to submit bids for city projects and purchases. Currently, this is not being done. We will
reduce the use of no-bid contracts, a practice that hurts MBEs. We will aggressively provide
information about purchasing to MBEs. We will work with others who specialize in business
development to strengthen MBE’s.
3. City services should be available to city residents, without distinction as to nationalization
or immigrant status. This includes civil rights, counseling services, health programs and job
and housing access.
4. The job of the leader is to embrace the needs and values of the community. The leader
ensures that the city adapts to external forces and respects the skills and capabilities of
everyone in the city. A leader builds trust and welcomes open discussion and diverse views.
A leader understands the importance of designing fair systems to get work done. A leader
inspires and shares power and authority. The leader makes tough decisions that may not
always be the popular choice. The result is making the best decisions that get the most
efficient and effective results.
5. That is a decision that will be made when the people of Madison and their elected
representatives sit down to modify this year’s budget and adopt the budget for 2012.
Experience tells me that some immediate management changes can save over half a million
dollars. We can save $150,000 in the mayor’s office. Ending no-bid contracts for bicycle
sharing can save another $100,000. We can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by
properly scheduling over time when staffing changes are made to accommodate vacations. I
would be very reluctant to support any cuts in community services since only recently was
the funding brought back to the levels equal to when I was last in office.
6. The current administration has done too little in this regard. While the city has taken
advantage of programs at the state and national level like WHEDA, little has been done
compared to what was done in other Wisconsin cities. In addition, builders who specialize in
developing affordable housing, frustrated with the city government’s attitude, said they would
never build in Madison again. We have done better – during my administrations, we were
responsible for the construction of thousands of units of housing for seniors and families.
Going forward, we will change our attitude. We will collaborate better with builders and
advocates for affordable housing. In addition, we will work harder to get the state financial
assistance that makes it easier to develop affordable housing.