[media-credit name=’YANA PASKOVA/Herald Photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′][/media-credit]In a significant margin of victory, University of Wisconsin junior Ashok Kumar won the District 5 Supervisor seat for the Dane County Board Tuesday night.
As of press time, Kumar won 69 percent of the vote over UW freshman candidate David Lapidus, receiving 465 of the 673 total votes cast.
Lapidus received 196 votes, and 12 votes received were write-ins.
"It was a pretty big win," Kumar said while celebrating the victory at Hawk's Bar and Grill. "It's a reflection of the idealism and the ideas of this campus."
Though Kumar took the victory, Lapidus called the entire campaign process a "great experience."
"Kumar is a very tough guy to beat, he has a lot of name recognition," Lapidus added. "I wish him well and I hope he does a good job."
To Kumar, winning the District 5 seat also reflected the recognition of his work in the community, including his efforts as a member of the Student Labor Action Coalition.
"[SLAC] helped in so many different ways, and I'm grateful to be a part of that organization," he said, also noting the organization endorsed his campaign.
Kumar plans to take a year off from school to focus on his responsibilities as a district supervisor of the Dane County Board, which holds power over issues such as environmental concerns, zoning, public transportation and public safety.
According to Kumar, taking a break from his college studies will allow him to spend a couple of months investigating the issues he wants to address.
"In order to enforce something properly that changes people's lives in the way you need to, you need to understand the system backwards and forwards," he said. "And that's what I plan to do."
One of the primary issues Kumar plans to address is the issue of affordable housing.
Kumar said he believes housing in the area should be made more affordable to students, and suggested an idea of creating affordable housing trust funds.
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk — who backed Kumar — was "very pleased" with the results.
"I'm eager to work with him on the Dane County Board," she said. "He will be a fabulous voice for the student body. We need leaders like him to reflect the voice of the students and university."
Falk said she supported Kumar because of his views on fighting urban sprawl and finding alternatives to incarceration.
Despite his defeat, Lapidus said he will continue to work with the Associated Students of Madison, the new student government, and may possibly set up a tenants' rating system of his own for students in the area.
"One of the reasons that campaigning was such a great experience was that it gives you a chance to meet everyone, all students in the district," he added. "And that was something that made the process awesome."
While Madison is considered an extremely liberal city, Kumar did not label himself as a politically liberal candidate, rather referring to himself as "progressive."
He attributed the win to the extensive campaigning efforts over the past few months, and the support from the organizations that endorsed him.
"I think we had great issues that related to students," Kumar remarked. "I feel like we had an amazing campaign manager … I had the support of the Student Labor Action Coalition — and that's all you need."