Madison has a decision to make next April as opposition to longtime Mayor Paul Soglin steps up for the election.
That includes Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, who has been an alder since 2011 in a district that includes much of the University of Wisconsin campus.
“It has been the support of students for the past three and a half years that have allowed me to be elected as city council member representing students for the last two terms, and now, I hope to use that same energy and vibrancy and take it to the mayor’s office,” Resnick said.
Bridget Maniaci, a former District 2 alder and UW graduate, announced earlier in July she will challenge Soglin in 2015. She spent two terms as alder in a district that includes much of the Langdon Street neighborhood.
Maniaci, a Madison native, graduated from UW in 2007 with a degree in political science and economics and completed an internship with Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who lost to Soglin in 2011 when Soglin decided to seek his old job back. Soglin is on his seventh term as mayor in three different stints.
“It is surprising when someone who you have supported and helped mentor decides to run against you,” Soglin said in an email to The Badger Herald of Maniaci’s candidacy. “But that’s politics. We welcome Bridget to the race and look forward to a fair, respectful campaign focused on the issues.”
Soglin’s campaign declined comment on Resnick’s challenge, as he had not formally announced at press time.
Maniaci, who did not seek re-election when she left office in April 2013, is currently working on her master’s of science in public policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She said she has gained a broader perspective of the city during her time outside Madison.
Maniaci will focus many of her efforts on tenant rights and affordable housing, she said. In her time as alderwoman, she noted, she wrote legislation protecting tenant rights — although much of it has been overruled with changes in state law.
Regarding affordable housing, Maniaci said there are low vacancy rates throughout the city, at around 2 percent, while the goal is between 5 and 6 percent. As the lower vacancy rate drive up prices, she said people all over the income spectrum are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
“The city needs to get real about developing affordable housing,” Maniaci said. “Expecting the market to develop into a desirable vacancy rate is not realistic.”
Resnick agreed the city must do more to address affordable housing, but emphasized the city must take a more comprehensive approach and also focus on homelessness.
“[We must] address both the concerns of everyday residents as well as those who are chronically homeless,” Resnick said.
Soglin said he hopes to continue the work he has done for access to affordable housing in the city.
He said rents have stabilized and in some cases decreased under his changes.
“Madison is enjoying record setting new apartment construction, especially around the campus,” Soglin said. “The result is a significant increase of the vacancy rate, which helps stabilize and even lower rents.”
Soglin has strongly opposed practices from the ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft. He said while he supports encouraging innovations in the city, he hopes Uber and Lyft will cooperate more with him to ensure safety and equity in their services.
Resnick, who’s clashed with Soglin on the issue, said he’s been seeking regulations for Uber and Lyft “from the very beginning” so that the companies can “compete fairly against our taxi cabs.”
“I believe there’s a way to do this both safely and equitably … and have introduced legislation to do so,” Resnick said.
Maniaci, meanwhile, said she hopes to ease discussions between city leaders and companies like Uber and Lyft, the ride-sharing apps.
“There has to be a good dialogue between those making the technology and those making the laws,” Maniaci said. “I am very disappointed in the corporate behavior from those of Lyft and Uber — not just in Madison [but in] other cities, as well.”
The general election for the race will be April 7.