Syed Abbas, president of the Madison city council, announced his candidacy for Wisconsin Assembly District 37 last Friday. Two days later, however, Abbas chose to run in the 46th District instead due to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling to implement newly Republican-drawn district maps.
The initial district maps approved by Gov. Tony Evers included a seventh assembly district dominated by Black voters. This plan was adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 3 but overturned by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling March 23 under the acknowledgement that Evers’ maps failed to realize a “race-neutral alternative that did not add a seventh majority-black district would deny black voters equal political opportunity.”
The new Republican-drawn maps were adopted on Friday and will finalize the Republican-controlled majorities in the State of Wisconsin for the next 10 years, according to an reporting by the Washington Post.
Abbas believes the new maps to be a step backwards.
“With these new maps, Republicans will have the majority to approve anything they choose to,” Abbas said. “We need maps that will represent … everyone. This map does not represent everyone, it represents the Republican needs. It’s disappointing, but not surprising.”
The 46th district in which Abbas will now be running includes Sun Prairie, Stoughton, Cottage Grove as well as municipalities in eastern Dane County.
Abbas, originally born in Pakistan, was elected alderperson for Madison’s District 12 in 2019. Since then, Abbas has advocated for issues of affordable healthcare, environmental social justice, safe communities, clean drinking water and sustainability across multiple facets according to Abbas’ website.
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After a year as alderperson, Abbas was elected president of the city council. He has actively continued his involvement in politics.
Apart from his political career, Abbas works as Slipstream’s business development manager, a nonprofit that focuses on the advancement of sustainability through energy consulting.
Abbas currently lives in Eken Park, but if elected in the Wisconsin Assembly, he plans on moving to the 46th district to uphold his elected duties.