Everything I do as a council member will flow from three basic principles:
1) Every Oshkosh resident has a stake in our city's success.
2) Every Oshkosh resident deserves to be heard.
3) Every Oshkosh resident has a right to know what their government is doing, why they are doing it, and whether they are doing it well.
So my scheduled appearance on Eye on Oshkosh was cancelled. So was the candidate debate. So I went ahead and had my son Charlie ask me the tough questions! Even if we don't win this election, we will have a great memory with this project.
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.
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.
Transparency is more than a data dump. It requires a deliberate ongoing effort to get the right information to all residents in an accessible format.
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.
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.
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My name is Michael Ford and I live in Oshkosh with my wife of 14 years, Allyson, and my two sons, Charlie and John. Our boys attend Emmeline Cook school, 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:
When considering running, I asked myself, what are the unifying values of the City of Oshkosh? What brings us all together? Am I capable of representing the interests of Oshkosh’s 66,000 plus residents? Oshkosh is growing more diverse. I see this in my sons’ school, my neighborhood, in public spaces throughout the city, and in census trends. Our diversity includes our politics; Oshkosh has residents active across the ideological spectrum. Our unifying value is not membership in a demographic group or political party. I believe our unifying value is a commitment to maximizing the quality of life in Oshkosh. To me this is a goal that everyone, whether they have kids in school, are retired, or live on the north, south or west side, can share.
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 am ready 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, what will I do as a council member?
Most broadly, I will 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.