Larry Palm, District 12 Alderperson


Role of an alder
Being an alder in Madison is an amazing job. As one of only 20 representing over 250,000 people, it’s an immense responsibility. An alder is a part-time job. We share three staff: two office staff and a legislative analyst. Soon we will also have a chief of staff.

Representing approximately 12,500 people also has its challenges. Neighbors have different opinions, and you’re often asked to make far-reaching decisions on contentious issues without consensus.

There are nearly 100 permanent committees and ad-hoc committees. This means no one alder knows what’s happening on every committee and we end up focusing on areas based upon our interests or what’s important for our district.

For years, I was the only alder serving on the Library Board. Other alders would engage me as their liaison to the library and generally I was the alder to show up for library events. It’s not that other alders weren’t interested, but they had their own committees to focus on.

More recently I have been focusing on regional planning issues. As the chair of the Regional Planning Commission and member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, I want to make sure that Madison is active and engaged in our larger regional community. Increasingly, what happens outside of Madison affects us all and good planning will benefit us as well.

Public Market
The Madison Public Market is moving along and picking up steam. The Foundation hosted a successful “Taste of the Market” and is planning more. Vendors have been selected for MarketReady, which is designed to support diverse vendors to create, produce and market their goods. The city continues to negotiate with the property owner. You can stay up to date with all of this at

Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee
The council has approved the new Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee and its members. I’ve received some questions and want to provide everyone a response:

  • Meetings will be open to the public and you will have an opportunity to speak.
  • We will host listening sessions to gather general feedback and for any concept plans.
  • No decision has been made on the Little League fields. I do understand that this is an important issue and it is on the list to resolve.