MADISON (WKOW) – Mayor Paul Soglin and challenger Scott Resnick met for the sixth of seven forums ahead of next month's election Thursday night.
At a forum hosted by the Urban League of Greater Madison, both Soglin and Resnick, who sits on the city council, acknowledged the recent, officer-involved shooting death of 19-year old Tony Robinson during their opening statements.
“If this debate had occurred more than one week ago, I would have presented a very different opening statement,” Soglin.
“We're grieving for the families involved,” Soglin said. “We're grieving for our community.”
Both candidates spoke about the need to link up the community's low-income families with job training and transportation, as well as healthcare and childcare. The two candidates said such advantages, that are often not available to the poor, can help lift people from poverty.
Both candidates also spoke about racial disparities in Madison affecting economic opportunities for people of color.
“It's our community's responsibility to acknowledge that there is institutional racism in the city of Madison,” Resnick said.
Soglin said racial disparities are particularly evident in the justice system.
“White youths have a better opportunity for diversion, for counseling and for work so that they do not enter (the criminal justice) system again,” Soglin said. “That does not happen with African Americans.
Among the panelists at Thursday's forum was 18-year old Caleb Bell, a student at Lafollette High School.
Bell asked Soglin and Resnick what they would do to help low-income students in the Madison Metropolitan School District.
“We're putting together 4-million to 5-million dollars a year for the next five years to create 1-thousand units of affordable housing,” Soglin said to Bell.
Resnick said it's important to focus on jobs so that students have opportunities in the future.
“It's about making sure students in theirhomess can address problems of food security, of mental well being,” Resnick also told Bell.
The mayoral election is April 7.
********MADISON (WKOW) -- Mayoral candidates Paul Soglin and Scott Resnick will meet Thursday for one of seven forums being held ahead of the April 7 election.