Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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A clear choice for District 5

As a female graduate student of color who studies public management and public policy, I thought it might be helpful for the campus to have a new perspective on the race for Dane County District 5 supervisor.

I attended the debate Wednesday between Wyndham Manning and Conor O’Hagan hosted by the Roosevelt Institution and WISPIRG. There are four major concerns that cast serious doubt on Mr. O’Hagan’s ability to lead, to collaborate and to innovate as a policymaker, regulator or advocate:

1. His immaturity and superficial breadth of knowledge, which both became apparent when he was pressed for details and depth on his platform and current political issues.

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Mr. O’Hagan presented conflicting ideas and priorities when admitting that the first sector he would cut funding from is the environment, while also identifying the environment as one of his platform pillars. At the end of the debate, the candidates were able to ask one question of the other. Mr. Manning successfully was able to delegitimize Mr. O’Hagan’s environmental platform. Mr. Manning had to explain to Mr. O’Hagan the problem and the causes of algae in our lakes before Mr. O’Hagan could even answer the question.

2. His inability to articulate clear policy goals, community outcomes or funding sources.

Not only did Mr. O’Hagan present incomplete policy alternatives, superficial platform issues and factually incorrect information, he also failed to admit when he needed more information. That is an incredibly immature mistake — as a representative, you can’t always have an answer. Sometimes, you have to do your homework and then formulate an educated opinion.

Mr. Manning effectively acknowledged that the county board would have a substantial learning curve. He admitted that certain questions posed could not and should not be answered without more complete information. That’s responsible leadership.

3. Mr. O’Hagan’s obtuse perception of balance.

Balancing mechanical engineering studies by “choosing his class times” is a freshman idea. Mr. O’Hagan must consider the time and energy the county board and other obligations might demand and be able to fully commit to them.

One of the most important policy ideas I took away from the debate was when Mr. Manning announced his willingness and intentions to bring politics to campus rather than “host office hours.” Politicians engaging their constituents is a far more effective and innovative approach than relying on them to wander into office hours regardless of where they are held.

4. His seemingly innocuous, yet politically dense lack of understanding that the boundaries of this county extend far beyond the boundaries of the campus.

While the constituents in District 5 have clear alliances and interests in the isthmus, as a public servant one must also be able to holistically evaluate policy recommendations by advocating for their constituents’ interests but by also being fully cognizant of the needs of the entire county. Mr. O’Hagan’s taxi ride service (with the misnomer of an expanded SAFEride) and the commitment to “Up not Out” urban planning are nearsighted, superficial visions for downtown Madison. They ignore the needs of the rural and agricultural parts of Dane County and the less urbanized, less affluent areas of Madison.

I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Manning on the Wisconsin Union Directorate since 2005. He has grown substantially in the past three years and while I have not always agreed with his choices or decisions, I wholeheartedly believe he is the best candidate for this position.

Wyndham offers the unique ability to ask good questions and challenge the status quo. He has the experience in building coalitions and outreach/feedback mechanisms. He has the time, energy and maturity to give the county board its due diligence, and he has a strong track record of innovative programming and solution-based budgeting.

Wyndham has the ability to lead; he asks poignant questions and is rational, yet decidedly passionate. He is politically mature and refreshingly candid.

I wholly support and endorse Wyndham Manning and hope you will as well this Tuesday.

Shayna Hetzel

UW Master of Public Affairs candidate, 2008

[email protected]

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