About Mayor Soglin
Paul Soglin is the longest serving - and most effective - mayor in Madison’s history. He has been Madison's Mayor for more than 20 years, spanning four decades.
Mayor Soglin has always been that rare elected leader unafraid to do what’s right — breaking ground by hiring more women and people of color; raising the minimum wage; creating record numbers of senior, affordable and low-income housing units; getting large public projects built.
Paul Soglin enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall of 1962 as a pre-med student. He graduated in 1966 with honors in history and then spent three years in the UW History graduate program, before obtaining his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1972.
His lifelong dedication to social justice, equal rights, and making government responsive to the people it serves, began early. While in high school, in the spring of 1959, he joined in “sympathetic boycotts” at the Woolworth store in downtown Chicago. While still an undergraduate, he participated in the North Shore Summer Project in 1964-1965, a groundbreaking effort to create open housing in the Chicago suburbs.
On the UW Campus, Soglin participated in the 1967 demonstrations against the Dow Chemical Company, manufacturers of Agent Orange. Beaten by police during the demonstrations, Soglin was elected to lead the subsequent student strike.
Paul was elected to Madison's Common Council in 1968. He was re-elected in 1970 and 1972.
He was first elected Mayor of Madison in 1973. Elected twice more in the 1970’s, Soglin served as Madison's mayor until 1979.
From 1979 to 1980, Soglin was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. After working for nearly a decade as a lawyer in Madison, Soglin returned to elected office in 1989, serving three additional terms as Madison mayor until 1997.
He resigned as Mayor in 1996 when taking on the challenge of running against Republican congressman Scott Klug. For the next 15 years, Paul worked in the private sector as a financial advisor at Lincoln Financial; as the administrator at Epic Systems, leading the phased move of Epic’s 2,600 employees to its new corporate campus, overseeing its $23 million investment program and helping developing Epic’s charitable-giving program; and serving as a consultant. He also taught at the LaFollette School of Public Affairs, leading graduate seminars in public finance, public management, and public personnel practices.
In 2011, Soglin again ran for Mayor of Madison, winning a close race against a two-term incumbent. He was re-elected by a record setting margin in 2015. He is running for re-election in April 2019.