Instructor runs for position on Dane County Board
Ryan Spoehr, Editor
March 6, 2012
Filed under News
Roe Parker, an instructor at the Downtown campus, has announced he is running for a seat on the Dane County Board. He teaches a five-part grant-writing course at the Downtown campus.
Parker’s experience in grant writing prior to becoming an instructor included working on a $3 million grant to businesses for training. The skills he gained in the process will be essential in helping him as a Dane County supervisor.
A resident of the town of Oregon, Parker will be running for supervisor in District 31. The district is comprised of the town of Oregon, the city of Oregon and the village of Brooklyn. He has high hopes for the area, and is ready to jump into action.
Parker explained his goals for the future, if elected.
“What I really want to do when I get in there is to really do an audit to take a look at the grants that the county has submitted, take a look at where we can improve on those, look at the strategies at which we are using to obtain grants on the federal and state level and get more of our tax money back through grants.”
The instructor has overcome some challenges in his efforts to become politically active.
“I think the issue for me is being a new candidate in Dane County,” Parker said, “and not having access to a lot of money has been a challenge.”
Despite a lack of access to funds, Parker has received endorsements from AFSCME and Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive and Madison College graduate. “It’s really gratifying to have them recognize your leadership and your skills and abilities to be a good candidate,” he said.
Parker’s financially humble background wasn’t only a handicap. It has helped him gain important experiences that helped him along the way. For example, he believes his work with emergency food pantries helped him earn the endorsement from Parisi.
For 10 years, he has been a member of the Oregon Buckets for Hunger group. Buckets for Hunger started in 1995 to “wipe away the tears of hunger and to replace them with a glimmer of hope in the eyes of the needy,” according to its website. It is an initiative to collaborate with food pantries to make sure those that need help to feed their families actually receive it.
He spoke more on his dedication to community service. “I think it’s really important because you need to be able to earn these endorsements. They are not just given out to anybody,” he said. “You need to stand for a certain set of values and principles and that you have a sense of community service.”
Parker expressed his readiness to take part in the political community, and explained that he is no stranger to political office, as he was elected as a supervisor for the Winnebago County Board in 1972.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in Public Administration. He also works at UW-Madison as a training officer for computer software in their human resources department.
The Parker campaign has focused on public safety as one of the top initiatives.
“I like the ankle bracelet program,” he said. “It has been an alternative to the high cost of jail.”
Parker took place in the closing down of parts of the Ferris Huber Center, the detention center on Rimrock Road. He says that it was a good use of their time because it can allow time and resources to go to other projects, such as drug issues, heroin in particular.
“We got to focus on that so that our people are safe in the streets and in their cars,” he said.
In the district, the production of a new county park has been announced. He says that one of his top priorities in office will be making sure that there is a cost-effective design.
“We need do things that we can be proud of, but yet not break the budget,” Parker said. “We need a comfortable budget because we have tough economic times.”
Parker is opposed by Jerry Bollig, resident of the village of Oregon. The vote will take place April 3.