Few local officials have served longer and more honorably in elected posts than Barbara Vedder. A member of the Madison Common Council from 1995 to 2001, and a member of the Dane County Board from 2006 to 2010, she has experience with every aspect of municipal and county governance. And her progressive instincts have always kept her in sync with constituents on the east side of Madison.
So the Common Council Executive Committee was wise to recommend Vedder to serve out the remainder of the term of former Alder Syed Abbas, who stepped down on Dec. 1. She can hit the ground running on a council that will have plenty of issues to address between now and April 18, when the term ends.
Vedder and former council member Dorothy Borchardt, who served from 1993 to 2003 and has been active with the Warner Park Community Recreation Center-Circle of Friends, were interviewed as prospects to fill the position. Neither is a candidate for the full two-year term representing District 12 that will begin after the April 4 spring election, so this is a classic interim appointment. Both Vedder and Borchardt were fine prospects.
But Vedder, who brings more than 40 years of experience as a disability rights advocate to the job, can make an especially important contribution over the next three months. She says she wants to focus on improving home health services, noting that as someone who uses a wheelchair, “People like myself cannot find people to help them as caregivers.”
In addition to serving the residents of the 12th District, as we know Vedder will do well, we hope that her return to the council will spark interest in the caregiver issue. It’s a national, state and local challenge, and we know that there are no easy fixes.
But having an advocate as able as Vedder on the council will provide insights that enrich the effort to assure that people with disabilities and the elderly are able to remain in their homes.