As the primary election for City Council representatives approaches, the candidates for the 2013-2015 session of Madison’s governing body have solidified their spots on the ballot and begun to address the issues most important to them.
District 8 has already seen some controversy with the aldermanic race. The downtown district’s current representative, Ald. Scott Resnick, had his nomination signatures contested by his opponent, Christian Hansen. Hansen claimed the dates on some of the petition’s signatures were unclear.
The city clerk rejected the challenge and Resnick remained on the ballot. Resnick said it represents the first time in city history that a practice typically used in partisan politics was employed in a City Council race. After the controversy had subsided, Resnick secured the endorsements of 18 of the other 19 current alders-an unprecedented number.
Resnick said he is focusing on two major issues in his campaign – housing and campus safety. He said he wants to make sure campus is a safe place for entertainment purposes and for students to walk home at night. District 8 is predominantly a student district that encompasses much of the University of Wisconsin campus.
Hansen, a former University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse student, said he is running on engaging homelessness, supporting affordable housing for students and supporting a ban on the purchase and use of police surveillance drones.
In District 2, which includes parts of downtown, current Ald. Bridget Maniaci is headed to graduate school after two terms serving on the City Council. Her seat is open to any of the three candidates running to replace her: Ledell Zellers, Bryan Post and Dennis DeNure.
Post said his platform is mainly centered on issues of smart development, traffic and safety.
“I believe we need to develop East Washington and the surrounding lots in a sensible way that will create a vibrant, environmentally friendly and diverse area,” Post said.
Maniaci said she has chosen to endorse Post because of his background as a 2008 UW graduate. Maniaci said Post understands what it means to be a UW student and to be in Madison as a young adult trying to work and be successful in the city.
Zellers was one of the most vocal opponents of the Edgewater Hotel redevelopment proposal, Maniaci’s most prominent and controversial position during her two terms. Zellers said she is supporting the growth and development of local businesses, public safety and maintaining the quality of the downtown area. Her platform highlights making sure the right development occurs in the right places and that any new proposals for development will add to the positive elements of the district, Zellers said.
In Districts 4 and 5, both candidates face no opposition in their bids for reelection.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, has served on City Council since 1995. Verveer said he would not be seeking another term if he did not think he was doing a decent job for his constituents. District 4 encompasses much of the off-campus housing students frequent, including the high-rise stretch on University Avenue and West Gorham Street, and much of the Mifflin neighborhood.
Verveer said he plans to focus his upcoming term on managing growth and new development, public safety and transportation as they relate to the downtown area.
City Council President Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, District 5, said she plans to continue to work with the university concerning issues on football game days and issues that happen in the neighborhood as result of football games.
“I am delighted to be running again and to represent the district once again,” Bidar-Sielaff said.
Three candidates are vying for a spot on the City Council in District 13. Current Ald. Sue Ellingson said the key pillars of her campaign are effective government, a vibrant community and a sound environment. She highlighted the importance of guiding new development and working to keep young families in the city.
Edgewood College student Zach Madden said he is challenging Ellingson to advocate for issues concerning the environment, such as lake pollution and community gardening, as well as parking and transit issues.
According to his campaign page, UW student Damon Terrell is hoping that as an alder, he can encourage community participation in governance and community development.
The aldermanic primary election will be held Feb. 9. After the primary filters the races down to two candidates, voters will choose their alders in the April general election.