Dane County Supervisor and Executive Director of the RCC Sexual Violence Resource Center Dana Pellebon announced her candidacy for Dane County Executive Wednesday morning.
Pellebon will join a roster of other candidates in this year’s executive election including Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison) and District 5 Madison Ald. Regina Vidaver following the early retirement of current Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.
In a press release following her announcement, Pellebon pledged to “continue leading Dane County with inclusive, compassionate executive experience while deepening current partnerships with city and county agencies, local businesses, and organizations.”
In an interview with The Badger Herald, Pellebon explained that decades of professional experience in Dane County have given her the skills and experience needed to be Dane County Executive.
Pellebon said her professional experience includes sixteen years at a local real estate company, nearly six years as the director of housing and operations for Porchlight, Inc., a local homeless services non-profit, and leading the RCC Sexual Violence Resource Center for the past four years.
“The reason why, specifically, I am running for the county executive position is my executive experience — being able to manage people in systems,” Pellebon said. “I’ve worked in these systems for thirty years, and I’ve navigated and worked with both city and county agencies to support residents and clients.”
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Pellebon also said that as a queer, Black woman, she is uniquely positioned to represent the people of Dane County.
Primary focuses of Pellebon’s campaign include improving public healthcare access, implementing data-driven criminal justice reforms and increasing affordable housing, according to the press release.
To address the needs of students, Pellebon said improving student life means uplifting everyone in the county, as well as ensuring UW students have access to basic services and resources.
“When we are caring for the people in our county — including our students that have the most needs — that means that folks that don’t have to worry about those things also experience an elevated life here in Dane County,” Pellebon said.
Pellebon also stressed the importance of student engagement in local politics, where students are very much a part of the decision making process in the county, whether it be about local parks and waterways or the jail system in Dane County. Engaging in the political processes that have tangible effects on student life is an important part of civic life, Pellebon said.
Due to the unusual circumstances of Parisi’s early retirement, the Dane County Executive elections will be part of a special election November 5, 2024 after a primary August 13, 2024, according to North Side News.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Dana Pellebon is not a UW alum.