Dane County Executive Kicks Off Re-Election Bid

Parisi announces his reelection bid outside the Labor Temple in Madison. Parisi was first elected in 2011 and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi kicked off his re-election campaign on Monday at a union hall in Madison.

The former Democratic lawmaker was first elected county executive in 2011 and ran unopposed two years later. Parisi has also been mentioned as possible candidate for governor. During his announcement news conference, Parisi frequently criticized Gov. Scott Walker’s policies and contrasted them with his own.

“While others have cut funding for Planned Parenthood, I’ve increased funding for these vital services that they provide to our community and I appreciate their partnership,” he said. 

He also went after the governor on cuts to university and K-12 education, and recalled Act 10, which sparked huge protests at the state Capitol over the elimination of collective bargaining rights for most state workers.

“Public employees were subjected to unprecedented and unfair criticism from the majority party in the state Capitol,” he said. “My experience with our county employees tells a different story.”

But Parisi insisted that Monday’s announcement was all about running for county executive, a job in which he has to confront state policies that affect Dane County. Still, when directly asked, he wouldn’t promise to serve a full four-year term if elected.

He did however highlight accomplishments from his time in office so far, including efforts to clean up the lakes, foster job growth and eliminate a county deficit.

Workers took voluntary pay cuts when the Dane County faced a $6-million deficit and no rainy day fund. Since then, Parisi said the county now has a $30 million rainy day fund and also restored its AAA bond rating.