Here come the candidate profiles for the gentlemen running for the Madison City Commission. First up: Jeremiah Corbin. As a rural water expert, he understands that basic infrastructure is a priority for any city government. But he also shows us that he gets an aspect of economic development that Madison has neglected for years: downtown development:

According to Corbin, the Lake Area Improvement Corporation made the correct move in adding downtown development to its goals for the Forward Madison II program. LAIC officials are currently raising $1.8 million to help fund the second phase of a local job retention and economic development program.

"I'd like to see some sort of a revolving-loan fund sponsored by the city to help with restoring downtown buildings," Corbin said [Chuck Clement, "Corbin: Basic Services Important," Madison Daily Leader, 2012.03.07].

And showing why he's a better candidate than I ever would be, Corbin focuses on the positive, complimenting the LAIC for making the right call, instead of emphasizing what meatheads they've been for ignoring downtown and retail development until the public started making noise. Unlike our previous LAIC director, I'm betting Corbin will be open to studying the example of Brookings, which has worked hard to build a pretty nice downtown.

Corbin also understands that outdoor improvements—better and better parks—are key to creating the quality of life that will draw and keep working families:

He said that his family has enjoyed the various parks that the city maintains. They spend some time at Baughman-Belatti Park, swim at the outdoor pool, and go to the softball diamonds. Corbin described Madison's park system as "a diverse and healthy mix."

"Last fall, the children and I spent some time at the Gerry Maloney nature trail and enjoyed the monarch butterflies," Corbin said. "It is good to see that people continue to utilize the community gardens.

``I feel it would be worth the city's time to look at expanding the softball complex and perhaps create a city campground. Such a combination would lend itself to some larger softball tournaments and give the city another opportunity to showcase our great community" [Clement, 2012.03.07].

Perhaps we can get Corbin on board with a massive Central Park green space plan spanning the city and the Lake Herman Bike Loop!

Corbin understands that citizens need basic services like reliable water. He also understands that a vibrant community has lots of public spaces that the people can call their own. That includes a bustling Main Street and big, beautiful parks.