The Madison Common Council Executive Committee interviewed council applicants Tuesday night for the District 8 interim alder position.

The interim position was made available after Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison sophomore and Alder Avra Reddy stepped down due to a family illness.

The applicants were Yogev Ben-Yitschak, Max Prestigiacomo, Sally Rohrer, Amelia Stastney and former alder and UW graduate Zach Wood. Ben-Yitschak, Prestigiacomo, Rohrer and Stastney are all UW students.

The committee members scored applications based on their responses to a series of six questions. The members chose to recommend Rohrer to the Madison Common Council after voters were tied between Wood and Rohrer. Of the six members present, four voted for Rohrer and two voted for Wood.

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney said Wood should mentor Rohrer because of his previous experience as an alder.

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“He brings the wisdom of being an alder for two terms,” Harrington-McKinney said. “Through that wisdom you get to share on a level that will absolutely enhance the work that we do.”

Ben-Yitschak, Prestigiacomo, Rohrer and Stastney emphasized the importance of including young voices in policymaking.

Ben-Yitschak said his experience in UW’s student government helped him identify issues students don’t know how to fix, and said there is an overlap between the city and university.

“I really wanted to fix those issues with student representation,” Ben-Yitschak said. 

Rohrer said students should be involved in decisions that greatly affect them.

Rohrer is a graduate student in the La Follette School of Public Affairs. She said she is interested in using her background in policymaking and is motivated by her values and beliefs. 

Rohrer said sustainability is an important issue facing District 8 because it is between two lakes — therefore the community will face infrastructure issues with increases in flooding.

“We should be looking into studies about how the water systems around us are changing,” Rohrer said.

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To stay connected with the community, Rohrer said she will hold coffeehouse hours and information listening sessions at least once a month. 

Rohrer said she worked for State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Congresswoman Gwendolynne Moore. Rohrer worked on state and local taxes and gained a better understanding of how taxes affect Wisconsin communities.

Rohrer said she wanted the position because she believes in the power of public policy, especially at the local level.

“I believe that strong and just policy can really be the force that changes our world,” Rohrer said. “That really happens at a local government level.”