Madison’s mayoral race kicked off last week with an announcement from a well-known city figure.
Gloria Reyes, a former Madison Metropolitan School District board president and deputy mayor, announced at a press conference Thursday that she intends to run for mayor in next spring’s election.
Reyes, who was raised in Madison and previously served as a police officer and detective with the Madison Police Department (MPD), criticized current leadership’s response to the rise in violent crime at the press conference. She cited gunshots, car thefts and burglaries as the city’s crime-related issues.
“A crisis is not an excuse for a lack of leadership,” Reyes said. “I am concerned about our Madison today.”
Reyes noted the main issues she intends to campaign on, which include public safety and healthy communities, economic development, education, environment, and housing and homelessness.
“I will work tirelessly for our Madison residents to ensure our communities are thriving and that everyone’s voice is heard and amplified,” Reyes said. “I will work alongside our residents to come up with innovative and inclusive solutions to our city’s most complex issues.”
Reyes already has supporters for her campaign. At the press conference, Madison alder and former common council president Syed Abbas said Reyes has the passion, vision and experience to invest in the city’s youth. Former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray praised Reyes for her devotion to youth during her time at MPD and at the mayor’s office.
“She walked the streets of Madison, she knows these kids, she knows what’s going on in this community,” Wray said.
Reyes began her term as deputy mayor under Mayor Paul Soglin in 2014, where she oversaw the public safety, community services, public health and civil rights departments, according to the Capital Times. From 2018 to 2021, Reyes sat on the MMSD board, serving as president for the final two years.
During her time in the Madison school district, Reyes controversially switched her stance on school resource officers. Reyes initially supported keeping resource officers in schools but later supported the board’s efforts to remove officers.
Following her stint on the school board, Reyes worked as the executive director at Briarpatch Youth Services, an organization that offers services to at-risk kids in Dane County. She resigned in July “to explore new leadership opportunities.”
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has not confirmed her plans to run, although she told News 3 Now that she “isn’t going anywhere,” and is currently fundraising. Madison mayors are historically granted a second term, the Cap Times reported.