District 2 race
As the race for the chance to represent District 2 in the upcoming City Council term comes to a close, voters will have the choice between University of Wisconsin graduate student Sam Stevenson and incumbent Ald. Bridget Maniaci.
Throughout the past two years, Maniaci has focused on landlord and tenant issues with her recent legislation that would limit housing and apartment tours to the second half of lease periods.
Maniaci said she worked hard on keeping her positions and campaign literature positive and holding a broad base of support from her community.
“I believe I will be successful [today] because I have worked closely with my neighborhood for the past two years on a lot of issues and have had very positive feedback on the various projects I’ve been working on,” Maniaci said.
Stevenson said his experience in progressive activism and public health give him a good perspective on how to address poverty and environmental issues.
Neighborhood participation and making City Council important to people are two goals Stevenson said he would actively pursue if elected.
“At the neighborhood level and in such a progressive district, I think I can keep people informed and engaged in city council,” Stevenson said.
District 8 race
Vying for the chance to represent the city’s predominantly student district, UW graduates Scott Resnick and Kyle Szarzynski are facing off in today’s election for District 8.
Throughout his campaign, Resnick stressed student-related issues and said he will continue to focus on problems that affect the campus if elected to office. He has focused on campus safety and housing policies.
Hoping to increase campus voter turnout, Resnick said he has run a positive and pro-student campaign.
“It’s the difference between running on something that is focused directly on students other than grandiose ideals,” Resnick said. “I’m trying to take a lot of the politics out of the City Council election – there’s a reason why it is bipartisan.”
Szarzynski disagreed with Resnick, saying it is “tone-deaf” to ignore political issues outside of student-related politics.
A self-proclaimed progressive, Szarzynski said his opponent ran an apolitical campaign in an “unprecedented political environment”.
“[Like Resnick,] I have also addressed student safety and tenants’ rights, but there are other issues that have a larger impact on the community, like social justice and workers’ rights,” Szarzynski said.
Dane County Executive Race
After Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced she will be stepping down from her 14-year tenure holding one of the county’s highest positions, State Rep. Joe Parisi, D-Madison, and Sup. Eileen Bruskewitz, District 25, have been campaigning for the rare chance to enter the office.
Bruskewitz, having served as a supervisor on the County Board for 11 years, said her view of the county executive’s role is to work directly with businesses to bring jobs to Madison.
“Dane County is not adding any new jobs,” Bruskewitz said. “We need a county executive that understands what it takes to get people working again and work with the business community to create jobs.”
Parisi, a UW graduate, said his campaign has been working to fight Gov. Scott Walker’s budget at the county level, saying Bruskewitz voted against collective bargaining when she supported Walker.
“I think that my values and positions are more in line with Dane County residents,” Parisi said. “When it comes down to workers’ rights, my opponent and Walker’s approach is not the approach that Dane County wants us to take in interacting with our employees.”
Both candidates for Madison mayor know the workload well, with each having previously served a number of terms, and have aligned on many of the same issues, arguing they would focus on economic development, transportation and a strategic reaction to Walker’s controversial budget proposal.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said he is expecting a large voter turn-out, particularly with the campus community and younger populations. Cieslewicz won the 2003 election against then-Mayor and current mayoral candidate Paul Soglin by a narrow margin of about 1,200 votes, with roughly the same number of students voting in his favor.
With the endorsement of firefighters, police and trade unions, Cieslewicz said he is determined to set back the implications of Walker’s budget on the city.
“I think we’ve shown that we can take down Scott Walker,” Cieslewicz said. “We have significant union support and have seen what our younger supporters can do in the past months.”
Cieslewicz has proposed to create jobs by interacting more directly with state employees.
During his current term as mayor, Cieslewicz said he remained fiscally responsible by not tapping into the city’s “rainy-day fund,” maintained Madison’s integrity by ticketing the Freakfest event and championed for the city’s proposed high-speed rail and other transportation efforts.
During a televised debate Friday evening, Soglin said he agreed with Cieslewicz about the implications of the “Walker agenda,” but said there are problems with the city that cannot be ignored because of the spotlight the budget has drawn throughout the past several weeks.
Soglin has campaigned heavily on fighting poverty in the city and said during his previous terms as mayor he created a strong system that helped to drastically drop the poverty rate in the city.
Under Soglin’s terms as mayor in the 1970s and 1990s, he helped in maintaining an AAA bond rating for the city of Madison, a title Cieslewicz has also maintained but Soglin said is being threatened by the city’s enormous debt service.
“I’m convinced given the record I’ve had in the past that we can make Madison happen again,” Soglin said during the debate.