University of Wisconsin student Chris Hoffman announced Tuesday his candidacy to represent District 5 on the Dane County Board of Supervisors.
Hoffman said he is looking to bring more of a “student voice” to the board and help students understand the ways they can get involved in local government.
“I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to talking with as many students as possible because obviously not every student is sure what the county board does,” Hoffman said. “So I think it’s really important to reach out to as many students as possible and find ways to impact local government.”
As of now, Hoffman will be running against current Supervisor Leland Pan, District 5, who is also a UW student. Pan was elected in 2012 and will be up for re-election in 2014.
Pan said he welcomes a challenger and believes Hoffman to be a great candidate.
“Having people in the race with me is good for democracy and good for choice,” Pan said. “I think my record speaks for itself and it’s a record I’m proud to run on.”
Hoffman said he is still looking into the specifics of the platform he will run on and still needs to consider the type of influence the county board has on the campus area. He said his work with UW College Democrats has given him some opportunities to explore how county officials create and implement policies.
In particular, Hoffman said he hopes to focus on environmental policy within the county. In addition to political science, he is pursuing a certificate in environmental studies, and in doing so has gained a greater appreciation for nature, Hoffman said.
“Obviously we have lakes and county parks which students do take advantage of, and it’s important [to make] sure we have clean lakes to enjoy by the terrace,” Hoffman said.
Pan said the lakes are one of the main issues in District 5, adding he is proud to have worked on policies and budget amendments that focused on environmental policy in the county.
Hoffman said he chose to become involved with county government, as opposed to city government, because he believes the structure of county government lends itself well to certain policy issues that are important to students. He said he looks forward to delving into these issues on a committee level and finding ways to make the county more efficient.
“As much as I love the city of Madison, I think Dane County as a whole and the makeup of our county government seems more conducive to my style,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman will be graduating in May 2014 and is considering attending graduate school afterward. He said he hopes to stay in the Madison area and remain involved in the community.
Pan said he thinks it is very early to announce a candidacy. He said candidates usually announce in November or December.
If there were to be a primary, which only occurs if more than two candidates run for supervisor, it would occur in late February and the election itself will take place on the first Tuesday in April 2014, Pan said.