Five seats up for grabs on Madison’s Common Council; what alders are saying they would like to see in new candidates

MADISON, Wis. — Five alders on Madison’s Common Council will not seek re-election.

Shiva Bidar (District 5), Marsha Rummel, (District 6), Max Prestigiacomo (District 8), Michael Tierney (District 16) and Samba Baldeh (District 17) will step down from their positions after the April 6, 2021 general election.

“I think this is an opportunity for the council to really reflect the city,” Council President Sheri Carter said.

Carter said with the upcoming election to fill the seats, this is an opportunity for those who are demanding change to be the change they wish to see.

“If you are looking to run for an elected office, you really need to look deep within your commitment to not only represent your district but 250,000 people because you’re representing the entire city of Madison, including your district,” Carter said.

“Running for council is really accessible,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “If they think the city is doing work that really needs to be continued or that they would like to take a different approach, I think everybody should consider running for office.”

Rhodes-Conway said the more representation there is on common council, the better.

It’s exactly why Prestigiacomo decided to give up his seat after serving just one term.

“I am a privileged white cis man taking up space in this electoral system while there are actively two Black women of color interested in running for this seat,” Prestigiacomo said. “I’ve always felt my place in this movement with a mission is beyond myself. What really needs to happen is for leaders like myself, white leaders, privileged leaders to step back.”

I wanted to share that I’ve decided not to run for re-election to the Madison Common Council. There are many reasons as…

Posted by Max Prestigiacomo on Tuesday, 1 December 2020

One of the women running for his spot is UW-Madison junior, Juliana Bennett.

“This summer I felt really empowered by the social justice movement,” Bennett said. “It was really about identity and for the first time, I really came into my own as a Black woman. I am excited to follow in the footsteps of past District 8 Alders like Avra Reddy, who was the first woman to hold the seat in 26 years. I would be honored to be the first Black woman to hold the seat.”

Bennett said her goals for the city are to prioritize public safety, affordable housing and uplifting voices of young people of color.

“I’m always in favor of there being more women, more people of color, more LGBTQ folks in politics in general,” Rhodes-Conway said. “The real thing I’m focused on is we need city council members who are up for the job of guiding us through the recovery from COVID-19 because that’s going to be the work of the next term.”

Bennett is hopeful that she and whomever else is running for a seat can check all the boxes.

“I truly believe we can do better if we push for it,” Bennett said.

If you are interested in running for a seat on Madison’s Common Council, information on how to do so can be found here.