The Madison community is gearing up for the approaching District 2 election that will take place in the beginning of April to choose an alder who will represent the area in the City Council.
The current incumbent, Bridget Maniaci, will not seek re-election. Voters will have their choice April 2 between Ledell Zellers, an active member of the local neighborhood association, or Bryan Post, a University of Wisconsin graduate and Democratic Party of Wisconsin employee.
Each candidate said he or she wants to listen to and work closely with the members of District 2’s diverse community, which includes homeowners, renters, students, young professionals and members of sororities, fraternities and co-ops.
Both candidates agree it is important to maintain the district’s unique character, but they each have their own perspective on how to do so. Zellers said she is against the controversial Iota Court development, which is slated to be built in the Langdon neighborhood. She said the student-oriented apartment building is too massive and does not fit in with the neighborhood’s character.
Post said he supports the Iota Court development because it is energy efficient and allows for more affordable housing, something he would like to see more of in District 2. He said in 15 or 20 years, residents in the area will look back and see that the development enhanced the neighborhood’s character.
Zellers, who has served on various government boards and is an active member of the local neighborhood association, said she would advocate to improve safety measures, make the district more walkable, create affordable housing and see the current character of the Langdon neighborhood respected. She said as alder, she will listen to and inform her constituents.
“That’s what I think is really important about an alder,” she said. “Providing information and listening to the residents of the district.”
She said she would like to see the Saferide program reinstated, and she plans to help launch two housing-related committees that will focus on policy and landlord-tenant relations. She said she wants the development on East Washington Avenue to continue because the increased density will support businesses and increase walkability.
Post, a UW graduate with an engineering degree, currently works for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Post said as an alder, he will work on a variety of issues, which include improving transportation, helping the homeless and increasing energy efficiency. He said the main issue he will work on will be creating more affordable housing.
“I want to improve accessibility to affordable housing to make it easier to rent and live in the district,” he said. “We need a forward-thinking development.”
He said more affordable housing will also provide a solution to homelessness and poverty.
Maniaci has endorsed Post because, she said, he will move the district forward and. She said that as a recent graduate in his late 20s, Post can better relate to the large population of students who live in the district.
Maniaci said being an alder will consume the life of whoever wins the race, but she also advises her successor to remember everyone they represent.
“Work to serve all of your constituents — not just your loudest ones, not just the most vocal ones or the ones who come to all of the meetings,” she said. “There’s a real responsibility to actively seek out and engage constituents.”