UW-Madison College Democrats endorsed Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, in a Tuesday forum with all five mayoral candidates.
Candidates touched on racial disparities. The candidates, although ideologically similar, emphasized their differences as being representative of Madison’s diversity.
“I don’t want to claim to be the youngest person in the room and I’m not going to claim to be the most experienced person running,” current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said. “But I build systems that solve problems for equity, poverty and social justice.”
Soglin argued that the controversy generated by the recent Race to Equity report is being adequately handled by his administration.
“The  Race to Equity study is data based on 2011,” Soglin said. “Since that time, there was significant growth made and we’ve been successful in regards to cutting the unemployment gap, in terms of the income gap and you’ll see significant changes in terms of academic performance in the last few years.”
Former Dane County Supervisor Richard Brown, coming from both public and private sector backgrounds and as the only African American in the race, countered Soglin’s views.
“To tell the truth, I lived this,” Brown said. “Racial disparities exist today and get worser and worser all the time. If we don’t solve this, if we don’t address it, we’re going to see more crime.”
UW-Madison graduate Christopher Daly argued policing efforts factor into the racial discussion as well.
“I think we need a lot more control, a lot more oversight [on police],” Daly said.
In addition to racial contention, housing costs and conditions crossed student and candidate minds.
“You see these [high rise] projects as they leak through, and what it’s going to take is a real strategy, a long term vision of what campus is going to look like to make sure that the affordable housing on campus is protected,” Resnick said.
Echoing Resnick, former Ald. Bridget Maniaci, District 2, vocalized concerns with current rent rates.
“The federal programs are not eligible for [student housing].” Maniaci said. “Grad students, undergraduates are not [included]. So the city has to step up for that gap.”
Maniaci, having represented a portion of Langdon Street and the Greek system during her tenure on City Council, emphasized student needs including safety.
“Even if the lighting is there, that doesn’t mean [women] are not assaulted,” Maniaci said.
Organizers were enthusiastic about the event’s success, hosting all five candidates and large attendance from the club.
“I think it’s a really impressive turnout,” College Democrats of Wisconsin Communications Director Joseph Waldman said.