Soglin for Mayor
Who is Paul Soglin?
When asked about his youth, Paul Soglin says, “One of the best things that ever happened to me was my parents’ determination that we live in an integrated community. My classmates were, black, Latino, Native American, and many Asians – Japanese released from the internment camps after World War II.”
While in Hyde Park, Soglin was active in the civil rights movement. While southern students were sitting-in at lunch counters, Soglin and his classmates participating in sympathetic boycotts of the Woolworth’s on 53rd Street in the spring of 1960.
In 1962 he was elected treasurer of the UW-Madison chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In October 1963, Soglin joined 200 classmates at a rally protesting the presence of U.S. military advisers in Vietnam.
In 1964, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) created an open housing project in the Chicago suburbs, the North Shore Summer Project (NSSP). In the late spring of 1965 Soglin and a dozen other college students set out in suburbs such as Winnetka, Wilmette, and Kenilworth going door-to door with petitions calling for real estate agents to show and sell homes to African-Americans. Before the summer was out volunteers had contacted over 600 home sellers and over 1,500 other residents. The project culminated with a rally on July 25, 1965 with a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The following day Soglin and the other students joined Dr. King in a march to Chicago City Hall calling for open housing.
Throughout the 1960’s Soglin participated in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. In various protests he was arrested twice and beaten by police on another occasion.
He was elected to the Madison City Council in 1968 and re-elected twice. Respected as a strategist, activist, and for his grasp of policy, Soglin was on the front lines of movements and change. He was invited by Senator Gaylord Nelson to join the Senator in addressing University of Wisconsin students at the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.
He was elected mayor in 1973 and his first project was creating the Child Care Program which included certification, training, and financial assistance. This nationally recognized program improved the quality of childcare, encouraged rising wages for workers, and more parental involvement.
Two years later Mayor Soglin introduced an amendment to the city’s equal opportunity ordinance to include sexual orientation as a protected class. This was seven years before the state adopted its statute.
Paul Soglin has proven himself to be among Madison’s most effective Mayors in history. His actions have changed the face of the City, past, present, and future.