The race for the student-centric District 8 of the Madison City Council is between Democrat Scott Resnick and Progressive Dane candidate Kyle Szarzynski.
Neither one is a newcomer to politics or leadership. Resnick is the president of the State-Langdon Neighborhood Association, worked on the Obama presidential campaign and co-founded a web and mobile development company based in Madison. Szarzynski has been involved in activist groups such as Citizen Action and Sierra Club, and he also served in leadership roles with the Student Tenant Union and the Student Services Finance Committee.
However, Szarzynski abruptly quit his position with SSFC without following proper procedure. This is not a trait one would look for in a successful alder. And neither is the maliciousness Szarzynski showed in his deliberately misleading and inflammatory attack literature against Resnick.
Yet these troubling factors are not the main reasons this board strongly urges District 8 voters to choose Resnick as their next alder. Resnick has shown himself to be a capable candidate who has a detailed plan and fresh ideas for economic development and city policies that most directly affect students. These plans include reforms of the Alcohol License Density Ordinance, increased tenant rights and downtown safety. Resnick would stand strong on his own merits against other past District 8 candidates.
While Szarzynski has also expressed interest in confronting these student-centered issues, he has more emphatically pushed his stances on social justice issues, like having unionized workers declared a protected class – a superficial measure with dubious legality.
UW students do not need a broad-vision social reformer; they need an intelligent advocate for issues most directly affecting them. Given the varying priorities and credentials of these two candidates, Resnick clearly emerges as the appropriate representative of the student voice in city government.