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Progressive Dane is a left-aligned political party founded and focused on Dane County politics, including the issues of the City of Madison and Madison Metropolitan School District.
History and Platform
Progressive Dane has run on a general platform supporting civil rights legislation, increase in affordable housing, transparency in government. Currently, their platform is largely divided between City and County issues.
Countywide, Progressive Dane currently runs on a platform that includes the following priorities:
- Economic development and stimulus for low-income workers - Along with backing a living wage requirement for all county-funded employees, PD has backed plans for subsidies for locally owned businesses that support workers' rights and offer employees health care. In addition, PD supports initiatives that foster small-business growth.
- Transparency in government - In addition to enabling residents participation in government through county and city committees, PD wants legislation in the state Legislature that would allow individual counties to regulate their own election processes and set up their own campaign finance regulations.
- Public Safety and Justice with an emphasis equal treatment - PD members support drug treatment and counseling for drug offenses, including additional treatment for first offenders. PD also opposes reporting of illegal immigrants or documentation of immigration status for inmates or offenders, except for what is specifically mandated by federal law. Lastly, PD wishes to make public defenders more accessible to low-income offenders, as well as make sure legal information is clear to all suspects and offenders.
- Environmental preservation and land use - one of the more extensive planks of their platform, PD supports efforts to conserve Dane County wetlands and farmland, limit urban sprawl, prevent pollution of local lakes, expand bike routes, and general reduction of energy consumption.
- Transportation- PD supports the Regional Transit Authority and a development of multiple methods of transportation in the downtown area, as well as efforts to reduce car use in the isthmus and support of public transportation subsidies for low-income residents and workers.
- Affordable Housing - In addition to ensuring Dane County residents have proper information about their rights as tenants, PD supports the creation of an afforable housing trust fund and any efforts to create housing financially accessible for Dane County's low-income residents.
Progressive Dane was founded in 1992 in response to what members perceived as a shift to the political right my Democrats, particularly in state government. The group began endorsing candidates for City Council in 1993 -- six of their eight endorsed candidates won their seats. In the 1994 spring elections, Progressive Dane endorsed 10 candidates and won 9 seats - seven on the County Board of Supervisors.
Progressive Dane was, for most of the 90s, associated with the national New Progressive Party, also known as the New Party. While the PD often discussed the possibility of connection to a nationwide party, New Party dissolved in 1998. Progressive Dane is believed to be the last of the functioning affiliates of the New Party.
PD put most of their efforts in the Fall 2000 elections to support the Green Party presidential campaign of Ralph Nader.