Joe Parisi

Position title: Member, Board of Visitors, Since 2019


Headshot of Joe Parisi

BA, 1991, Sociology, UW-Madison

Joe feels that the practice of Sociology, the ability to step back, objectively observe, and understand all of the dynamics in play in a given situation, is key to crafting effective solutions to the challenges we face.

Joe Parisi has called Dane County home his entire life. As a teenager, Joe dropped out of high school. He was encouraged to return to education through a community program by people who believed in him. He worked to earn his GED and went on to MATC (now Madison College) and graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in sociology. Joe sought out public service as a way to give back to a community that has given so much to him. Joe was first elected as County Executive, the chief elected leader of Dane County, in 2011 after 6 years in the State Assembly and 8 years as Dane County Clerk.

Joe’s priority is to ensure that everyone in Dane County has access to the opportunity to succeed. Over the course of his career, Joe has created and participated in multiple programs that give back to the community including: a pilot program to get more kids their driver’s license, an innovative program to address equity, and an effort to connect displaced workings to jobs in the construction industry. He has also increased funding for affordable housing, created mental health teams in schools, and led efforts to protect the environment.

Joe and his wife, Erin Thornley Parisi, are raising their two daughters on Madison’s East side.