A first-of-its kind combined Mayoral and County Executive Candidate Forum took place at Madison, WI's Barrymore Theatre on March 22, 2011. Due to an extraordinary set of circumstances precipitated by longtime Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk's decision to resign in mid-term, there will be both a contest for Madison Mayor and Dane County Executive on the same day (April 5th), for the first time in recent memory. Organizers of this debate decided it would be instructive to organize a forum where both city and county issues, and their intersections, could be vetted. Questions came from neighborhood association leaders and citizens from throughout the city of Madison.

Reflections on recent events at the WI State Capitol, specifically the potential effects of Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposals on local governments, added spice to the event.

Moderators were Judith Siers-Poisson, of Wisconsin Public Radio and Cynthia Lin, host of A Public Affair, on WORT.

Peng Her, executive director of the East Isthmus Neighborhoods Planning Council (eastisthmus.org), opened and closed the event on behalf of his group, and the city's two other planning councils, The South Metropolitan Planning Council (madison.com/groups/blogs/SMPC), and the Northside Planning Council (new website: northsidemadison.org).

Other sponsors included: Allied-Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association, Barrymore Theatre, Boys and Girls Club, Centro Hispano, Communities United, Emerson East Neighborhood Association, Freedom Inc, Hmong Committee, and Urban League of Greater Madison. The event was covered live by both WORT Community Radio and WYOU Community Television. By the organizers' count of people who came through the door, a record crowd of over 450 was in attendance at the historic Barrymore Theater. (For info on future events at the Barrymore, please go to barrymorelive.com .)

For more information on this effort, please contact Peng Her, pengher@eastisthmus.org or 608-204-0834.

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