I read Mark Baumgardner’s recent column regarding my talk to the Associated Students of Madison and I wanted to respond briefly. Mark is right when he says that my goal is to make Madison the most progressive, most liberal city in the nation. That’s because liberal policies work.

Of course it’s true that the presence of the university and state government have bolstered our local economy. But in recent years those have not been growing institutions. State government employment has been stagnant for years and Gov. Jim Doyle would cut it by another 10,000 workers. In the last state budget, the University of Wisconsin took a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar budget cut. Still, Madison has among the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The growth in Madison’s economy has come largely from the private sector.

The reason is that we have two things that business wants more than low taxes: an educated workforce and a high quality of life. Communities cannot have either by pursuing a race to the bottom, slashing taxes and services and gutting regulations that protect workers and the environment.

Liberal policies are pro-economic development. They have served us well for three decades.

Dave Cieslewicz