|Donna Hurd Is Running for Madison District 7 Alder
Donna Hurd is a former president of the
Madison Downtown Rotary and will serve as an
assistant district governor.
community. I’m a recipient of all of the resources that it has. The opportunity to serve came up. Why wouldn’t I serve? I had been thinking about running for a while.
The more that I see of national and state politics, the more I really don’t like it. It’s easy and it’s comfortable to sit back and say what you don’t like about it. It’s more
difficult to say that you’re going to try to make a difference and get involved. That’s my driving force.”
Another driving force is that although District 7 has the peacefulness of suburban life, it seems there is no sense of community. She would like to change that.
“When I visited one of my neighbors to get his signature to run, he said they used to have a block party,” Hurd said. “But someone complained about it. He can’t
remember what the exact complaint was, but they just stopped. I grew up in Chicago and we would have block parties. Everyone got to know everyone else. When
you have that, you tend to feel a responsibility to protect your neighbors. Having something like that or having a community event at the park would be great. I’m
talking to some of the associations to see if they have community gatherings. We could invite people across neighborhood associations. This is a really nice
neighborhood to walk and run in. You see the people with the baby carriages. But you don’t see a lot of interaction between people. I can’t say that’s not happening
in some areas of the district, but it’s just what I’ve observed in this area. It doesn’t feel like community.”
Development of the remaining rural pieces of land in the District is a flashpoint of concern for many residents.
“I attended a public hearing session or hearing at Chavez Elementary School on Tuesday with the current alder, Steve King,” Hurd said. “What they are talking about
is there is a piece of land between Chavez Elementary and some condos. Right now it’s farm land that is just kind of wedged in. That’s the next piece that will be
developed. The developers were there showing what their plan was. There were quite a few people there. They weren’t happy because they are planning to cut
through some neighborhoods that are currently cul-de-sacs. They will be cutting through and they don’t want that because of the increase in traffic. They don’t want
the added traffic.”
Transportation is a problem for District 7. For instance, there are few entry points from the neighborhoods onto McKee Road. Coupled with the dropping off of
students on Maple Grove Road at Chavez Elementary, it can create a traffic gridlock. The public transportation doesn’t help much.
“The Madison Metro only comes as far as Tanglewood, which is two blocks this way from Maple Grove,” Hurd said. “Well if I wanted to take the bus, I would have
to walk all the way down there and I don’t know where I would end up in the city because you have to go through the west transfer point and then go here and turn
around and go there. We could work on a Rapid Transit System that really goes out to the outlying areas such as Sun Prairie, Oregon and Verona to get people into
Madison so we wouldn’t have to deal with so much congestion. You can be on the Beltline and I rarely see a car with more than one person in it. We’re polluting the
air. And I think if we could improve the transportation system, it would be beneficial.”
Crime isn’t a big actual problem in the district, although someone cut the wires for Hurd’s Christmas tree lights twice this past Christmas. But it is the distant
rumblings about crime that have residents concerned.
“It’s been more crimes of opportunity, people leaving keys in cars, not making sure their garage is closed when they leave,” Hurd said about crime in the area. “It’s
the perception that crime is increasing. But in actuality, it is dropping. That’s what I have been told. But if you’re the person who is on the other side of the crime, it
doesn’t matter. It might as well be everyone. When you hear about the gun shootings off of Raymond Road, that’s not too terribly far from here. My two children live
in that area and that’s scary. That’s a stone’s throw away from my neighborhood. If it is happening in any neighborhood of the city, the opportunity for that to come to
your community is real. And so, we can’t turn our eyes away. ‘It doesn’t affect me now, so why should I be concerned?’ Perception is just as important as reality.
Perception is someone else’s reality. People are moving to this area because, from my perspective, it’s a good community to be in. It’s not a perfect community, but
it’s a good community.”
As an alder, Hurd would feel that not only would she represent the people in her district in city deliberations, but she would also represent the city to the district
residents. And since what affects one part of the city impacts the vitality of the whole city, Hurd would feel a responsibility to weigh in on issues that may not
directly impact her district, but do impact the city whjere everyone lives.
“Overall, the city needs more affordable housing or an increase in wages,” Hurd said. “They don’t complement one another. You can’t live in a $800 per month
building and only make $7.25 per hour. You can’t do it, so you shouldn’t be forced to make a choice between food and housing. I’m open to the city raising the
minimum wage to $15 per hour. But that’s not even enough. I’ve worked with two large law firms whose headquarters are in other cities. I don’t get this, but when
they look at our market, they don’t realize that our market is very close to the Chicago as far as housing goes. The wages that people make here are just not that
commiserate with what we have to pay to live. My son and daughter live off of Raymond Road and they are both married. But I don’t think either one of them could
live where they live on a single income and they have pretty decent jobs. So $15 per hour is a start, but it just isn’t enough. Madison is a rich community. There is
no reason why we have people who are struggling to eat or live.”
Hurd has the endorsement of the current alder, Steve King, and the support of other alders in her area. Hurd is eager to serve. Now if she could only get a coffee
shop built somewhere close by so that District 7 can start making community. Hurd is ready to start.
By Jonathan Gramling
Madison Alder District 7 is basically the southwestern most part of the city of Madison bordered by Raymond Road
at the north, sliced in half by McKee Road and ends on its southern border near Verona Road.
“Some call my district ‘The Sleepy District,’” said Donna Hurd. “There isn’t a ton of issues compared to what we
see in other districts in the city. It’s pretty homogenous. It’s middle to upper middle class in this area. It’s a pretty
wide area. It’s spread out pretty far. We have five neighborhood associations in this district.”
District 7 resembles more the outlying suburbs of Madison than the city center itself.
Hurd has lived in the district for 15 years and after completing her term as the president of the Madison
Downtown Rotary, Hurd looked for another way to be of service to the city of Madison. When Steve King decided
not to run for re-election, Hurd threw her hat in the ring.
“I don’t have an interest in becoming a career politician,” Hurd emphasized. “I just don’t. But this is my