Joe Parisi is the newly elected Dane County Executive, the chief elected official for
Dane County. The County Executive is elected on a countywide basis and charged with leading
and managing Dane County government.
Dane County has a population of over 490,000 and is the second largest county in Wisconsin
by population and the third largest by geography; it has 60 different local governments
including towns, villages, and cities. Its county seat is Madison and it is the home of
both Wisconsin’s state capitol as well as the world famous University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Madison and Dane County are consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the USA.
The annual budget for Dane County is nearly $500 million, funding programs across
30 different departments. Dane County provides a wide range of services for citizens,
including, but not limited to:
- Economic Development
- Human services such as assistance to the elderly, children, and persons with disabilities, and W-2 welfare to work
- Environmental protection, land conservation, planning and zoning
- Highways and the airport
- Parks, the zoo, and landfill management
- Sheriff’s department and jail operation
- District Attorney, courts and court services, and
- Veterans’ assistance, and 911 emergency management services
Joe believes in leading the Dane County Way – working with people to find solutions to the
challenges ahead. As Dane County Executive, Joe’s focus will be on prioritizing economic
development and clean energy job creation, protecting the most vulnerable among us,
and preserving our environment.
Joe has already served Dane County for 14 years, as a state representative from 2004 until
early 2011, and as Dane County Clerk from 1996 until 2004. His background reflects his
desire to protect our community and the families that live here. In the legislature,
Joe was awarded the 2007-2008 Wisconsin Counties Association Outstanding Legislator Award.
Joe has also earned awards for his work to protect the rights of survivors of domestic
violence and sexual assault. In 2010, Joe was named the Wisconsin Coalition Against
Domestic Violence’s Legislative Champion. In 2011, Joe was awarded the Wisconsin Coalition
Against Sexual Assault Voices of Courage Award for public policy.
Joe has been recognized for his initiatives to protect our environment.
Joe has been a Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Conservation Champion,
and has earned a 100% rating with the Sierra Club every session he served in the legislature.
As Dane County Clerk, Joe pushed for common sense election reform and transparency in
government. As a legislator, Joe fought to ensure ‘the people’s right to know’ as well.
In 2010, Joe was awarded the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s Badger Award for his efforts
to protect journalists’ from having to divulge confidential sources in whistle-blowing cases.
Joe was born in Middleton and has lived in Dane County his entire life.
Joe and his wife, Erin Thornley, raise their two daughters on Madison’s east side.