I joined the County Board of Supervisors by special appointment in July of 2018 when George Gillis moved out of our district and resigned his seat. I was excited by the idea of bringing my professional skill-set of strategic and financial planning and nurturing public health to our local government body. Now, I’m focused on putting that planning into action for the 2019 budget cycle, and focusing on public health, equity in and for all, and literacy efforts throughout Dane County.
The complexities of our healthcare system require intimate knowledge of the different organizations at play in a given community, and I’m well-equipped to bring that knowledge to the board. I am excited to bring to the County Board my public health education and 10 years of experience working in a variety of healthcare settings, focusing specifically on strategy and financial planning, electronic health records, quality improvement, analytics, and population health. I see great opportunity for increased focus on health equity, prioritization of discrete local programs (such as our opportunity zones), and partnership and collaboration with local healthcare organizations.
Strategic Planning for Budget
With political changes and economic volatility, long-term planning for a local government can be exceedingly challenging. I am eager to bring my expertise in transforming our budget process from a year over year list of priorities to a long-term planning roadmap that guides our goals. The long-term financial planning process should be collaborative and engaging, including staff, elected officials, and the public. In-depth forecasting and financial planning can also create windows into hidden costs that can clarify legislative needs. For example, a long-term financial planning exercise would likely reveal, in painful terms, the extent that our human services budget is going to change with the rapid aging of our population.
Equity in All
I have a special interest in ensuring that our Department of Equity & Inclusion is empowered to develop, review, and modify equity plans across departments within the county. For example, while the zoning committee does not immediately prompt thoughts of racial equity and health equity, it’s critical that our zoning administrators are attentive to development of facilities that create air, noise, and water pollution in low income areas. Our zoning departments have the power to build equitable land use and housing in Dane County with creativity and sensitivity to biases that currently exist (e.g., the tendency to only consider the building of factories near low income neighborhoods). Additionally, as we plan for Bus Rapid Transit in the City of Madison, are public transportation organizations in Dane County facilitating transit using strategic placement of bus stops in low income areas? How have we encouraged the use of bicycle commuting for low income families, which would decrease expenses and improve health outcomes? Are we presenting these opportunities in a culturally competent manner? There is much work to be done in every department, and I’m ready to work with each one to improve our equity across the areas we serve.
Literacy and Education Opportunity
Literacy has always been important to me. When my family first moved from Vietnam to Wisconsin, the public libraries were a haven for learning English in our new country. At five years old, I was devouring books in an effort to learn a new language. I joined the Board of Directors of the Madison Public Library in 2016 in tribute to this integral part of our community. Dane County also has a critical role to play in education and literacy efforts. The Public Health Department has a program for Parents as First Teachers. The County funds the Bookmobile, a mini-Library on wheels, which makes weekly visits to communities throughout the county. The UW-Extension partners with the County and a variety of organizations in our community to provide food and financial literacy programs to residents. Many programs with the Human Services Department, such as Partners for After School Success, tutor and provide mentorship for youth in Dane County. I’m happy to network with organizations in Dane County working on literacy and education opportunities and ensure they are able to do their work to the best of their ability.
MY IMPACT IN 2018
more committed to immigration services
With an increased budget for the Immigration Assistance Fund and a discretionary fund for our own Immigration Affairs Specialist Office, we have renewed and strengthened our commitment to our immigrant neighbors in the face of great hardship due to federal and state legislation.
full-time pre-trial services employees
The pre-trial services department helps route people to alternatives to incarceration via race-neutral assessments. Fully staffing this department is essential, and our budget commitment ensures that we can continue reducing our jail population.
dedicated to Spanish language ballots
Translation services are a critical part of engaging our Latinx neighbors in government efforts. One of the very first steps in that is making sure that Spanish-speaking residents are able to understand their ballots and VOTE! I am proud to support the funding for Spanish language ballots at every polling location.