University of Wisconsin students Juliana Bennett and Ayomi Obuseh announced their candidacy for the District 8 alder seat up for election in April. 

Bennett and Obuseh both announced their candidacy for the District 8 City of Madison Common Council seat Monday. Current Ald. Max Prestigiacomo announced in a statement today that he will not be running for re-election in April. 

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Bennett is a third-year student at UW and a co-founder of the UW BIPOC Coalition that formed this fall to advocate for a comprehensive social justice platform in collaboration with other BIPOC students organizations on campus.

In a statement of intent sent to The Badger Herald, Bennett said she is an active community member who will strive to advocate for “true, progressive change” in Madison. 

“I have and continue to be outspoken on university and city-level decision-making pertaining to BIPOC student initiatives, COVID-19 safety and reimagining campus safety in the face of the social justice movement,” Bennett said in the statement. 

In an email statement sent to The Badger Herald, Obuseh said she has been a youth activist and organizer since she was 15. Obuseh started her activist work in Madison as a high schooler at Madison West high school.

Obuesh said in the statement that she was at the forefront of advocating for human rights of marginalized groups in Madison, specifically the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, throughout this summer.

“I believe wholeheartedly that once we find our voice, it is our duty to use it to better our community …. With my past experience at the city council and State Capitol, I know I am more than capable to run for Alderman of District 8,” Obuseh said in the statement.

Prestigiacomo held the District 8 seat since the spring primary election in April 2020 when he ran unopposed.

In his statement released today, Prestigiacomo said there were many reasons he chose not to run again, including his commitment to dedicate room on the council to BIPOC individuals with lived experience.

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“Being deliberate in my decisions has always been my intention, which comes with an understanding that this movement’s mission goes beyond myself,” Prestigiacomo said. “I’ll admit, sometimes I find myself trying to justify taking up space on the Council as a privileged person.”

Prestigiacomo recognized both Bennett and Obuseh as two soon-to-be declared candidates, and said he was “excited for their leadership.”

Prestigiacomo won the seat following the resignation of former alder and UW student Avra Reddy last fall. UW graduate student Sally Rohrer was appointed to the seat between the transition from Reddy to Prestigiacomo.