Apr 28, 2021

“We Must Not Accept Complacency”



MadREP President & CEO Jason Fields recently spoke at Rotary Club of Madison’s first in-person meeting since the pandemic. In an address titled “We Must Not Accept Complacency,” Fields highlighted the Madison Region’s strengths and excellent rankings before explaining to the crowd that the Region has work to do before we can move from “very good” to “great.” The Cap Times published a piece covering the speech and a recording is available on Youtube.

Wisconsin consistently ranks poorly against other states on educational and financial outcomes for populations of color and Dane County is no exception. According to a 2018 housing study, home ownership for Black families in the county was just 12%, compared to 23% in Wisconsin and 42% nationally. Additionally, while nearly 48% of white households earn above the county median family income, only 16.4% of African-Americans, and 17.3% of Hispanics do. Fields amplified these data with a personal story about his wife, La Tasha, calling to schedule a viewing while searching for a new home in Madison and immediately being warned about credit and background checks. According to The Urban Institute’s 2012 housing discrimination study, while instances of overt “door-slamming” discrimination were dropping, real estate and leasing agents, “recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minorities than equally qualified whites.”

The Madison Region cannot reach its potential until we address our inequities, which also include access to affordable broadband and access to startup capital for entrepreneurs.