Two-term incumbent Sup. Echnaton Vedder, District 5, defeated challenger Ion Skillurd Tuesday in an election that drew more than 600 voters from the highly student-populated district.
Vedder received 423 votes, compared to Skillrud’s 244 votes in a race between two UW-Madison students for the District 5 County Board seat.
An optimistic Vedder celebrated with supporters Tuesday night and said he thinks more student issues will come to the forefront in county government this term.
“I think we’re going to be able to make positive changes in affordable housing,” Vedder said.
He also said he would focus on furthering efforts in water quality and land-use policy, and hopes to establish an ordinance mandating all landlords keep a certain percentage of all units in new housing developments “affordable.”
“I think if we do it on the county level, we can push the city to do it as well,” Vedder said.
Skillrud said that Vedder ran a good campaign.
“Today, he was the better candidate,” Skillrud said. “We made promises to run clean campaigns, and he kept it clean the whole time.”
But Skillrud said he was disappointed with the results, because he thought he had secured enough votes to win the position.
“I had enough verbal commitments to win, and I don’t understand why all those people who said they were going to vote didn’t,” Skillrud said.
A candidate who said he wanted to offer an alternative voice to the board after Vedder’s two-year term, Skillrud said he hopes Vedder abandons his Progressive Dane backing. He said Vedder’s identification with the party brings a partisan essence to an otherwise non-partisan position.
But Vedder said he had no intention of following Skillrud’s advice and said he identifies with the party because he has become “extremely frustrated with the two party in general,” and because the party focuses on many student-oriented issues.
“It’s important to make sure you know what the party is all about,” Vedder said. “It’s about affordable housing, environmental and water-quality issues and drug policy.”
Vedder said drug policy would also likely receive attention this term. He said he hopes to push the District Attorney’s office to stop prosecuting minor possession drug charges.
“I’m very excited about working on the issues,” Vedder said.