How we do things in local government matters. Understanding the Council-City Manager form of government matters. Earning the trust of colleagues matters. In my first two years on council I have demonstrated my ability to communicate with Oshkosh residents, work with colleagues and City staff, my knowledge of local government, and my ability to get things done. Every step forward is a group effort, and I believe I have proved to be an asset to Oshkosh’s governing team. I am most proud of these achievements in my first two years on council:
The Love Oshkosh Campaign
During the worst days of the pandemic I worked to bring Oshkosh residents together. I convened a wide group of stakeholders to help find common ground, and to launch a community effort to fight Covid while supporting our local economy. No single local campaign can end a global pandemic, but it did combat the divisive nature of the debate.
Supporting Local Business during Covid
We avoided any local-imposed shutdowns due to Covid. There were no easy decisions during the worst days of the pandemic, but, I felt we could not negatively impact the livelihoods of so many Oshkosh residents by imposing shutdowns. Instead, we supported business with regulatory flexibility and financial relief.
Building an Equity Framework for Oshkosh
Oshkosh is an incredible community that has provided my family and I with a great quality-of-life. But, we need to ensure that every Oshkosh resident has the same positive experience in Oshkosh. To that end, I helped design a framework built on department-level equity measures and goals approved by the City’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee. This framework ensures we deal with objective facts while weaving equity and inclusion into the fabric of our government. Like everything I do in government, I am working to make a lasting impact rather than a short-term gesture.
Transparency is so much more than a data dump. During the past two years I have pushed for improved organization of our public documents, interactive reporting of City finances, enhanced communication, and more public education on our form of government. City staff were often ahead of me in these efforts (which is awesome!), and always supportive. A government cannot work for its residents if residents do not understand what it is doing and why. I remain committed to making that happen.
The City of Oshkosh will receive over $20 million dollars through the American Rescue Plan Act. We cannot afford to squander these funds. I drafted a policy that gave the City Manager guidance on how to maximize the impact of these funds. Because of this policy, funds will be spent as part of a coherent strategy that facilitates our recovery in a fiscally responsible fashion.
The budget is the contract between the City and its residents. An Oshkosh that works for everyone starts with an inclusive, transparent, and performance-focused budget process. I am committed to an honest budget focused on the City's long-term goals.
Oshkosh is strongest when everyone has a seat at the table. I am committed to celebrating and utilizing all of the things that our residents have to offer. If re-elected, my focus is on implementing our metric-based equity framework.
Transparency requires a deliberate ongoing effort to get the right information to all residents in an accessible format. If re-elected, I will continue to push for improved outreach to all residents.
A strong city requires a strong economy. I will work hard to make Oshkosh attractive to businesses large and small. It starts with creating a quality of life, and tax climate, that makes people want to be here. Our government will ensure fairness, not pick and winners and losers.
Oshkosh is a great place to live. I will always celebrate our successes, and will work tirelessly to improve in areas where we can do better.
Our challenges cross sectors, neighborhoods, and political ideologies. So must our solutions.
My name is Michael Ford and I live in Oshkosh with my wife of 16 years, Allyson, and my two sons, Charlie and John. Our kids attend Webster Stanley and Emmeline Cook schools, and Ally and I both work here in Oshkosh. Since 2013 I have taught Public Budgeting and Financial Management, State and Local Government, Analytic Methods, public-private partnerships, and other classes in UW Oshkosh’s Masters of Public Administration program. Prior to that I had a career in public policy.
When I am not working you can find me taking advantage of all Oshkosh has to offer. That may be running the trail at Menominee Park, fishing from the shoreline or through the ice on Lake Winnebago, playing tennis at the Y, strumming my guitar and singing off-key at church, trying my best not to make errors at shortstop in summer league softball, or just spending quality time with family and friends. I have a passion for public service and local government, and yes, I sometimes read budgets for fun. If you have any questions about me please shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have deep community ties that put me in position to serve as an effective bridge between the values of Oshkosh residents and City Government. I currently serve in the following capacities:
The last two years have been challenging for Oshkosh residents and businesses. But, I have been impressed with the resilience of our community. Everyday I see that we have more in common than not. It is in that spirit that I want to continue to serve as a unifying voice that brings people together towards the common goal of a high-functioning city government that meets the needs of all Oshkosh residents.
Resources are finite, needs are infinite, and values are contested. Every resident owns a share of our government, and every resident has a right to be represented and heard. Every voice matters. To me the role of the city council is serving as a bridge between the values of our residents, and the professionals delivering services in our city. An efficient, effective, and equitable local government requires a high-functioning council where voices can be heard, civil debate can be had, and decisions can be made. I want to continue to play my part.
I believe the role of a council member is to serve as a bridge between City government and the values of Oshkosh residents. To that end, how do I view my role on council?
Most broadly, I will continue to exercise a commitment to the governance role played by the council in a City-Manager form of government. I am committed to respecting boundaries, and working collaboratively with other members of the council.
I have a unique combination of experience and skills relevant to serving on the Oshkosh City Council. I have a clear understanding of the machinery of state and local government in Wisconsin, including extensive knowledge of policy, government structure, and the specifics of local government revenue generation and concepts such as municipal aid.
My formal education includes a Ph.D. in Urban Studies, which involved extensive training in planning, analytic methods, and the specific of public management. In my current position I teach a variety of courses relevant to local government. My full resume can be viewed at www.michaelrford.com.
Help support my campaign by donating today. All contributions are appreciated!