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The Democratic gubernatorial primary may be crowded, but Madison Mayor Paul Soglin feels he is the right choice for the nomination. Soglin feels his experience makes him the right candidate to face off against Governor Scott Walker in November.

“I knew I could undertake the responsibility of being the Democratic nominee,” Soglin said. “I have defeated three incumbents who were mayors when I’ve run here.”

Although Soglin said in December he was uninterested in running for governor, he has since given it more thought. “I discussed it with my wife last spring, and Sarah said to me, ‘You can run, but only if you win,” Soglin said. “I’ve got 21 years as mayor and during that period I’ve shown great skills in financial management and in terms of building a healthy economy without giving away the ranch.”

If elected, Soglin said he would be more inclined to continue living in his current home than moving into the governor’s mansion. “My wife and I have talked about it, and it’s very likely that we would stay at home.” He said he would still use the mansion for ceremonial purposes.

The governorship would be Soglin’s first statewide position, but he is confident he would be able to work with a Republican assembly. “I’ve always gotten along well in my different phases as mayor working with Republicans.” Soglin said he had a good working relationship with former governor Tommy Thompson.

Soglin took issue with Walker’s record on public education. “For seven of eight years Scott Walker strangled our public schools and only now has bothered to put in some very inadequate funding for public education,” Soglin said. He also criticized the fact that the state has recently spent more on prisons than schools.

Improving internet speeds across the state are a goal for Soglin. “We’ve got to increase present upload and download speeds by a thousand to 10 thousand percent,” Soglin said. “This is going to help everyone from school kids to farmers to entrepreneurs.”

Soglin said he is proud of Madison’s consistent high ranking in life quality with other cities. “I think I’ve got a good feel as to how public money should be invested so it leads to private investment,” Soglin said.

Creating a desirable place to live and maintaining high quality of life for residents are parts of Soglin’s approach to governing. “If you can create a great place working with what you got, people want to be there,” Soglin said. “Families want to be there to raise their children, investors want to be there to start their companies, and that has basically been the underlying philosophy of how we’ve done development in Madison.”

Soglin feels the southeastern part of Wisconsin has received disproportionate attention from the Walker administration. “He’s dumping (money) into one corner of the state and ignoring projects in the other 80 percent of the state,” Soglin said.

In a recent Marquette University poll, Soglin came in second behind State Superintendent Tony Evers.

But Soglin feels there is still time for his campaign to gain momentum. For Soglin, this is an opportunity to make his case for the nomination. “Tony has run three times statewide and he has probably, in effect, peaked,” Soglin said.

The Democratic gubernatorial primary is scheduled for Aug. 14.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl

Reporter

Juneau County Star-Times reporter

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