Paulsen Joins Mayoral Race

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By: 
Michelle Phillips

MIDDLETON–Middleton Plan Commissioner Kurt Paulsen announced his bid for mayor on Dec. 10. 

“A lot of people have asked me to run for mayor based on my leadership on equity and sustainability,” Paulsen said in an interview last week.

Affordable housing is one of the four priorities Paulsen would tackle as mayor. He serves as a member of the Workforce Housing Committee and said, “People who work in Middleton can’t afford to live in Middleton. A lot of teachers who work here can’t afford to live here.

“We need a greater variety of housing in the city. As chair of the workforce housing committee, I led the effort to develop our strategy and goal of 295 affordable units before 2020, and we’re about to reach that goal!” Paulsen continued. He said there is a lack of smaller houses, and said it is the “missing middle.” 

Pheasant Branch Conservancy is also of importance to Paulsen, who said he wants to “build in resiliency and resistance” to curb  flooding during future rain and snow melt events.

“We have to do a complete watershed plan,” he added. 

“Previous generations invested in the conservancy, and it is the heart of our community. It’s our turn to invest today for future generations. We must restore the conservancy and design for a future that will include more intense rainfall events,” he said.

Public safety made the list, and Paulsen said that the city needs to make sure that public safety personnel have the resources to do their jobs. He said that he knows that the city budget has been tight for the last few years, but the city should make sure the police, fire and EMS have the officers they need. 

“The flooding in August and the Paradigm shooting in September both demonstrated the incredible professionalism and bravery of our first responders. Lives were saved because our Police, Fire, and EMS had the training and resources they needed to do their jobs. The first job of any mayor is to support and defend our first responders and fight to make sure they have the resources they need to keep us safe.”

He said he also wants to expand bus service and bus rapid transit (BRT) in Middleton. “There are 20,000 jobs in Middleton and 18,000 commute to work. We must expand bus service.” He said. “As we continue to grow, we must expand transportation options including expanded bus service. We should take advantage of Madison’s BRT program to bring rapid transit to Middleton for our residents and workers.”

When asked how he would pay for budget increases, Paulsen said the city must look at other revenue sources, including a levy or a wheel tax, which he favors setting at $10. 

“There are pretty strict caps on property taxes, so as costs go up, we must find other revenue sources,” he stated.

Paulsen works as a professor of planning and landscape architecture at UW-Madison, where he teaches and researches local government finance, land use, and housing. He serves on Middleton’s Plan Commission and was chair of Middleton’s Workforce Housing Committee for many years.

Paulsen and his wife have raised their family in Middleton and both of their kids attend school in the district.

“My wife and I have lived here for 13 years. It’s time for me to give back to this wonderful community and step up to serve,” he concluded.

 

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