Chad's Priorities for Monona
*Renovate city buildings to reduce utility costs and improve productivity
*Improve lake water-quality by improving retention structures, reducing runoff, and reducing flooding
*Advocate for pedestrian safety on our streets so that children can get around to schools and parks more safely
*Reward excellence from city staff, and Support the programs that make our city a great place to live
Since 1998, I have been proud to call Monona my home. I grew up in Hampton Virginia, where taxes are low and the quality of life is correspondingly lower. I adopted Wisconsin as my home 19 years ago because I value quality public services, excellent public schools, and the higher standard of living that comes with a well-educated electorate and a well-funded public sector.
When I served on the Monona city council in 2008 and 2009, I promoted sensible and responsible improvements to our city. I improved Transit marketing efforts as chairman of the Transit Commission. I helped to create "virtual sidewalks" around Winnequah School so that kids can walk or bike to school more safely. I supported buying more fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce fuel costs and save the taxpayers money. I defended the rights of citizens to live freely, so long as their actions were not harmful to others. In that regard, I helped to implement our smoking ban, which allows all citizens to eat and drink along Monona Drive in smoke-free and more family-friendly establishments. The positive health benefits of this policy are now well documented.
I am running for office to defend and improve the vital services that the people of Monona expect. We already know what Wisconsin is learning too late, that Governor Walker does not understand what makes Wisconsin great. In Wisconsin, we have learned that democracy and prosperity require honest accounting, investments in education and technology, and quality public services, so that all citizens can participate in the advancement of our state. We do not divide or segregate our people; we are one people from many backgrounds, who share a commitment to good government, democracy, and forward progress. I will fight for these values, to protect vital services such as transit, the library, the senior center, and our parks and recreation programs.
Our investments in our library staff and facilities allowed us to earn "the best library in Wisconsin" award. I want to see us become the "best small city to raise a family" and the "best place to operate a business" by investing in our community with a long-term vision, rather than racing to the bottom. Together, we can build a better Monona.
My experiences as an employer and small business owner mirror my approach to governing. I will treat customers/ constituents with respect and dignity. To be the best, we need to attract and retain outstanding employees/ public servants to work for us. I will continue to treat our city staff just as I treat my own staff, with good and fair compensation, and an expectation of excellence. I will continue to be responsive to the concerns and complaints of the people, and I will expect our services to be the best in Wisconsin. I reject the notion that government should be small or large; good government (like a great business) must be efficient, effective, accountable, and responsive to the people. I respectfully ask for your vote on April 5th.
(These posts range from 2011, back to 2008, when I was first elected to the Council)
Monday, April 4, 2011
Since 1998, I have been proud to call Monona my home. I grew up in Hampton Virginia, where taxes are low and the quality of life and standard of living are correspondingly lower. Since then, I have lived in New England, Budapest, Washington DC, and Dayton; and I am familiar with the diversity of services that a city can offer. I adopted Wisconsin as my home 19 years ago because I value quality public services, excellent public schools, and the higher standard of living that comes with a well-educated electorate and a well-funded public sector. I am very concerned about our state under Gov.Walker, and I am running for office to defend and improve the vital services that the people of Monona expect.
When I served on the city council in 2008 and 2009, I promoted sensible and responsible improvements to our city. I improved Transit marketing efforts as chairman of the Transit Commission. I helped to create "virtual sidewalks" around Winnequah School so that kids can walk or bike to school more safely. I supported buying more fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce fuel costs and save the taxpayers money. I defended the rights of citizens to live freely, so long as their actions were not harmful to others. In that regard, I helped to implement our smoking ban, which allows all citizens to eat and drink along Monona Drive in smoke-free and more family-friendly establishments.
As Chairman of the Transit Commission, I learned that our marketing budget was not being used, and I led our Commission to utilize these funds to improve the visibility of the Monona Transit buses. (Our contract with First Transit allocates marketing funds, paid for by First Transit. If we do not use these funds, we lose them.) In the winter of 2009, we painted our buses with attractive signage to promote our services, utilizing two years of unspent marketing dollars. Perhaps you have noticed our "old" buses, nicely painted to promote our transit system?
Monona should be active in the new RTA, both to preserve our cherished services and to expand and integrate the transit services that are available to our citizens. This new regional authority should help shift transit costs away from property taxes to a more equitable sales tax. I look forward to helping to improve transit services in our community in the near future.
Wasteful energy consumption is costly for Monona taxpayers. Our buildings and city vehicles consume far too much fuel, and we need to invest in better technologies so that we can reduce city expenses. As an expert in this field, I have the knowledge to help guide the council to make good decisions. These smart investments and improvements to our city buildings will have the added benefits of creating more comfortable workplaces, which contributes to more productive and satisfied workers. Most importantly, Monona will help our nation to become energy independent while reducing our carbon footprint.
Our parks and playing fields need to be improved and revitalized so that Monona can compete with surrounding communities, which have far nicer amenities. As a coach of my son's Monona Rec. Baseball team for the past 7 years, I have learned that Cottage Grove, McFarland, and Waunakee have much nicer baseball fields for young kids. Our team will sometimes travel to these communities to have access to these nicer facilities. Monona has spent thousands of dollars on Ahuska Park, which few kids can safely walk or bike to. Let's reinvest in our neighborhood parks so that kids have safe places to play.
I support continued funding for our Recreational programs, so that these programs continue to expand, attracting revenue and families into our community.
I want Monona to be a leader in Dane County, promoting and embracing more sustainable practices as a city. Sustainability may be a popular buzz-word, but the values that it reflects are consistent with our past. Fifty years ago, a person who was thrifty and not wasteful, who made sacrifices for their children and grandchildren, was often called a "conservative." These individuals wanted to preserve and enhance their good fortune for future generations. Now, such values are firmly embraced by those who ask us to make sure that our actions and way of life are "sustainable", not wasteful or harmful to others; not spending more than we can afford, nor paying too little for things which we must have.
Similarly, people who now call themselves "conservatives" are dismantling our great public institutions, and refusing to pay for the services which made us great and wealthy. Our debts continue to rise as more tax cuts are enacted; and our standard of living has fallen along with our lagging investments in education, science and technology. We are destroying our middle class and handing all the spoils to the most fortunate among us. There is nothing "conservative" about this agenda, nothing sustainable about our dependence on fossil fuels, our dependence on cars, our wasting of energy, the destruction of our natural resources, or closing down parks and schools. We stopped paying the bills, and now the lights are going out.
I want to turn the lights back on in Monona. I will demand accountability and excellence, and make sure that we fund our obligations to become the best small city in Wisconsin. We cannot be the greatest while being the cheapest. Our facilities and the people we hire to serve our city make all of the difference. I expect us to seek out the finest, and our community will be rewarded for it. We invested in our library, and we won the best-in-state prize. We have a phenomenal Recreation Director who needs the support and funding of the council. We have a lake that is clearly threatened, and we need leaders who are willing to listen, learn, and act to improve the lives in our community. We have streets and parks which are unsafe for children, and we need to improve these things so that families are clearly welcomed and valued in this community.
My name is Chad Speight, and I ask for your vote to represent you on the Monona City Council.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
We are missing the point if we think Scott Walker is only assaulting public unions. An attack on basic workers' rights is an attack on all workers, and the entire middle class.
The rise of the middle class was the direct result of rising union rights, organizing, and power. We enjoy child labor laws, the 40 hour work week, workers comp insurance, unemployment insurance, retirement and health care benefits, all in large part because UNIONS DEMANDED THESE THINGS.
The fact is that wages and benefits rose for all working people thanks to union efforts.
The fact that private sector manufacturing (and the Union Jobs that were a part of it) have been leaving our state and nation at an alarming rate, has severely threatened our economic stability and prosperity. Now, Scott Walker wants to do to Public Unions what his free market cronies did to manufacturing, TO DESTROY them.
The end result is the destruction of the middle class.
Walker gives to the Powerful
and Takes from the Rest of us.
Wake UP Wisconsin. If you work for a living, and you still have a living wage, be very concerned- YOU ARE NEXT! Union or non-union, it does not matter. We either rise together, or fall together. Walker and his CLUB FOR GROWTH puppet-masters want to destroy unions, destroy social security, destroy medicare and all government programs. They demand tax cuts for corporations, and concessions from the rest of us.
ENOUGH!! The time has come to take a stand. The Radical Right have declared War on every working American. They accuse us of "class warfare" for pointing out their obvious assault on the middle class!?! HOGWASH!! Walker and the Fitzgerald Clan are ready to dismantle our rights and our economy, IF WE LET THEM!
THE PEOPLE UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED.
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I am proud to call Wisconsin my home, and I am proud of our great history in Wisconsin of defending economic democracy, creating workers compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, and important union rights for workers in the public and private sectors. Wisconsin has led the way in creating the prosperity that we have enjoyed in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Without democracy and rights in the workplace, then all power rests with employers, who can behave like dictators. It is no accident that the most advanced, wealthy states and nations are those with strong union movements and rights, where less inequality exists, and this allows for higher overall standards of living, and happiness.
I grew up in Virginia, a "right -to-work" anti-union state, where teacher pay is much lower. Inequality is greater, and the quality of public schools and other services is lower, and I decided not to stay there.
I recognize the "community" that Scott Walker wants to create, and that community is a less desirable place to live.
I hope that Wisconsin turns back this radical assault on our values, and that the people wake up and realize that this Conservative Agenda is a scam; just another Ponzi scheme that will bankrupt most of us, while enriching only a few. The rewards that are promised turn out to be a lie, but if we are foolish enough to fall for it, perhaps we deserve it.
As a business owner, I remodel the homes of middle class professionals. Some are public employees, while others provide goods and services for public workers. We all depend on each other in a thriving economy. Walker's priorities make a challenging economy much worse for me and most citizens in our state.
For years, we have asked working people to make sacrifices; fewer benefits, furloughs, reduced wages. Simultaneously, we increase the costs of "public" services, like tuition and fees.
For 30 years, the lion's share of government handouts have gone to the wealthiest among us, with massive subsidies to big business, and huge tax cuts to the top income earners.
We have shifted massive amounts of wealth from the working majority to the wealthy few.
How can we keep giving bail outs and tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, and then ask the rest of us to foot the bill? Isn't this completely backwards? Certainly, these policies, which have prevailed for 30 years, have not reduced our debt, or helped raise our standard of living as a nation. We have gotten poorer, and class-mobility has decreased. These policies are literally destroying our prosperity and wealth, and our greatness as a nation. Yet the con artists and liars who sell this snake oil accuse liberal policies (which coincided with our most prosperous era) of destroying America? Hogwash.
I think Wisconsin, and perhaps the entire nation, are finally waking up from this long conservative nightmare. Greed, unchecked, is horrible economic policy, in every way.
United, we prosper. Divided, we fall.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Monona is truly a diamond in the rough, and my goal if elected will be to assure that we continue to improve our great city, to invest wisely so that we can maximize the services that taxpayers demand, and minimize the cost.
We are so lucky to have the lakes, a great library, a nice pool and beautiful parks. I want to make sure that we continue to improve and invest in these assets. I look forward to working with Jake, our new recreation department director, to improve our programming for people of all ages. Our programs should stand out, attracting participants from all over the east side.
I want Monona to be a leader in Dane County. We all know that our lakes could be much cleaner, and I want to continue to find ways to partner with surrounding cities in assuring the renaissance of our waterways. After all, Monona is the only city in Dane county that shares a name with a lake.
Our transit system is woefully inadequate, forcing almost all families to own multiple vehicles, which raises the cost of living in Monona, increases traffic congestion, and puts too much stress on our already poorly maintained streets. For too long, Monona has been penny-wise, and pound- foolish. We need to understand that some government services are worth far more to the taxpayer than what we are forced to spend on our own when the services are inadequate.
I want our city to be a leader in sustainable practices, which will improve our image, AND save the taxpayer money. Energy-efficient buildings are cheaper to heat and cool. Fuel efficient vehicles are cheaper to operate. Let’s stop running our city like a stingy landlord, and start investing in the future to show Dane County that Monona really is a City of Pride.
As a business owner, I understanding the importance of paying the bills, balancing a budget, making payroll, and looking out for the bottom line. As a leader in the remodeling association at the local and national levels, I understand the need to build consensus, to listen carefully to competing interests, and to help promote change which is rooted in common-sense, and the benefit of future generations.
Monona is a great city, with energetic and progressive citizens who want to make our city even better than it already is. Together, we CAN build a better Monona. Together, we WILL build a better Monona. I ask for your vote on April 1st.
Monday, March 10, 2008
On a personal level, I have been an avid supporter of Russ Feingold for the past 16 years- I volunteered for that campaign in 1992, the summer we moved to Madison from Dayton, Ohio. I met Paul Wellstone at a fundraiser that fall, who is another hero of mine. I am a Progressive Patriot.
We are big supporters of Representative Tammy Baldwin and State Senator Mark Miller as well. Sue Carr (my wife) and I were very involved in supporting Fair Wisconsin last year, holding a fund raiser at our home attended by Mark Miller and Joe Parisi.
Education and travels:
I grew up in the South, in Hampton, Virginia. I attended private schools in a racially-divided community which had very little investment in the public sector. I attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where I studied history and politics.
As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, I studied for a term in Budapest, Hungary, during the winter of 1986, 4 years prior to the demise of the Soviet Union and the crumbling of the Eastern Bloc. I studied goulash socialism, among other things, and traveled extensively in western and eastern Europe. I came home with a much broader understanding of economics, politics, and the wealth of nations.
The United States has been lucky to enjoy the prosperity of the last 50 years, and we will need to start paying attention to Europe and other developed nations if we are to avoid sinking into a steep decline. Our current ways of funding health care and transportation, just to name a few, are not sustainable. I understand the intellectual bankruptcy of conservative economic policy, and the absurdity of viewing all government regulation as inherently bad. The free market, properly regulated, is a great thing. We currently lack sensible regulation and taxation policies due to the ascendancy of the supply-side, anti-government conservative movement. As a student of history, I can only hope that I am correct when I predict that this era is coming to an end.
I enrolled at William and Mary College in 1988 to earn teacher certification. In 1993, I enrolled in the Sociology PhD program at UW-Madison, but I did not earn a degree. As a remodeling contractor and business owner, I have continued to take classes to maintain the highest levels of expertise in my industry. I am a NARI Certified Remodeler, and I frequently speak as an expert at the Better Building, Better Business conference (every winter in the Dells.) I am a regular guest on the Larry Mieller show (WPR, the Ideas Network) discussing home improvements.
Career, family and experience:
I was a high school history teacher from 1989-1992, in Dayton Ohio. I met another teacher, named Sue Carr, who I would eventually marry in Madison, Wisconsin in 1993. Sue and I decided to move to Madison in 1992. We were attracted to Dane County for many reasons: excellent opportunities to further our educations; beautiful natural surroundings, and progressive attitudes.
We started Chad’s Carpentry in 1992, as a small residential remodeling company, which I had intended as a temporary vocation while earning a PhD, planning to become a professor. Expecting our first child in 1995, we decided to focus on our family, which led me to drop graduate school and focus on our remodeling business. When we were expecting our second child in 1997, we decided to look for a larger home, when we moved to Monona.
As business owners, we have always provided generous benefits to our talented staff because we are committed to being responsible employers. We also do NOT work for cash (ie., engage in tax evasion; it is appalling to contemplate how much remodeling happens “under the table”) We do not complain about the taxes we pay, since we realize that government plays a vital role in a civilized society, and I enjoy defending that vital role, as a tax-paying small-business owner. Of course, the health insurance we provide is bankrupting all of us precisely due to the failure of government to step in and regulate (or nationalize) the insurance industry. This complex, competing, private bureaucracy does not deliver better value or better health outcomes, but I cannot solve this issue on the city council.
Chad’s Carpentry is a leader in sustainable design and green building practices. We stress the importance of understanding “whole-house” building science, energy-efficiency, durability, and healthy indoor air quality.
I did serve on the Monona Transit Commission in 2002-3, and I helped to negotiate an agreement with Madison Metro which was rejected by the council. I look forward to exploring again ways to improve our transit services. I have been active in promoting improvements to the north end of Winnequah Road, improving our recreation department, and improving the health of our lawns and lakes.
Index of postings
Campaign Announcement, first campaign, 2008
In announcing his candidacy, Speight said, “Monona is a great community, and I believe that our best days are yet to come. We need to preserve and enhance our family-friendly qualities. I have a passion for politics, and I want to contribute in a positive way, helping Monona move towards a more sustainable future.
“The people of Monona are thoughtful and enlightened, and I look forward to working with them as we continue to improve our city services and infrastructure. We need to have an open and honest discussion about where best to invest public tax dollars, because Monona does need to invest wisely as we move into the future.”
Speight served for 2 years on the Transit Commission, and he believes that a better transportation infrastructure will make Monona much more attractive to young families. In addition, he is interested in investigating ways to make our streets safer for children, pedestrians, and cyclists. “As we work to continuously improve our infrastructure, we need to invest in sidewalks and bike lanes to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
Speight specializes in sustainable, energy-efficient remodeling, and he would like to investigate options that the city may have for similar technologies, which are cheaper to operate and maintain. In addition, he is committed to maintaining and preserving our parks and public lake access to ensure that the benefits of living in Monona are maintained. “Our access to Lake Monona is a wonderful part of living here, but only if we invest in cleaner, safer practices to be able to enjoy the lake for years to come.”
Speight continues to serve as a board member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), and he has been an advocate for contractor licensing, better building codes, and better building practices in remodeling and new home construction.
Speight is an active volunteer in the local schools, where he is the coach for one of the new Destination ImagiNation teams at Winnequah Middle School. He coaches youth baseball in the Monona Recreation League, and enjoys playing soccer in the 40+ league. He and his wife, Sue Carr, have two kids, Amelia, a seventh grader at Winnequah Middle School, and Kevin, a third grader at Nichols Elementary.
“I commend the council and the mayor for making tough decisions at the recent budget sessions. I am ready, willing and able to help make those decisions, and to continue to move the city in a positive direction for those families here now, and for those looking to Monona for a future home.”