Angelito Tenorio, a UW-Madison sophomore, and Hayley Young, a May 2015 Madison graduate, are fighting to replace another recent Madison graduate, Leland Pan, in the District 5 Dane County Board of Supervisors race.
The district is approximately 75 percent Lake Mendota with the remaining area being mostly campus. The District 5 seat is traditionally held by a current UW-Madison student or a recent alum.
The Board of Supervisors is the legislative branch of Dane County government. The position arguably has a more direct effect on students than federal or even state elected officials.
According to the Knight Foundation, a private non profit that works towards informed communities, local elections significantly affect citizens’ cost of living through taxes. Yet local election turnout is one-third of presidential election turnout, which is already low at 60 percent.
The board oversees, in conjunction with Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, the budget process. It also sets county ordinances, levies taxes and passes laws concerning law enforcement, according to its website.
Tenorio is from Milwaukee and is the University Affairs Chair of the Associated Students of Madison. He is also an Army ROTC Cadet and a Private First Class in the Wisconsin National Guard. Tenorio said his experience in working in UW-Madison’s multicultural community qualifies him for the seat.
“I worked with [the] Filipino-American Student Organization and Asian-American Student Union,” Tenorio said. “Working on promoting cultural awareness, cultural competency, that’s very big on our campus, especially with the recent cases of hate and bias.”
Tenorio has multiple issues listed on his website, such as environmental sustainability and homelessness, but said racial equity and inclusion is the most important topic in this race.
“I want to make sure that these criminal justice reform changes are being implemented over the next couple years,” he said. “That’s what I want to prioritize.”
Tenorio also said Dane County needs to do an environmental impact analysis before implementing lake recommendations. His website says reducing pollutant runoff must be a priority because algae growth from phosphorus is “hazardous to our health.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, algal bloom can reduce oxygen in lakes which kills fish. Lakes with high levels of toxins can make humans sick, but groundwater pollution can be more harmful at lower levels than lake runoff pollution.
Hayley Young has been on the Wisconsin political scene longer, first getting involved during the Act 10 protests in 2011. She went on to be chair of College Democrats of Madison and interned in Representative Melissa Sargent’s office (D-Madison) where she is now a legislative aid. Young is also a graduate of Emerge Wisconsin, a program for future “progressive women leaders.”
“I organized events like intersectionality panel, where we brought in focus on the LGBT Campus Center, or the Women’s Health Panel,” Young said. “I really spent my entire time on campus educating and engaging students on issues that impacted them. I bring a track record of making changes in margins and bringing people together to affect change in their community.”
Young also lists the environment and homelessness as issues on her website in addition to safety. For Young, the most important issue is also racial equality.
“If you have read the most recent reports the county has released, that is the most pressing issue,” Young said. “If you look at what’s even going on on campus, what’s being reinforced, is how important it is to address [racial disparity] issues.”
Young also said as a part of the safety issue, she wants to increase funding to the Dane County Rape Crisis Center. According to a 2013 report, the center took in over $700,000 in revenue that year, which includes donations from citizens and organizations.
The center is located on the south side and has a location in East Campus Mall. UW-Madison released a statement in January detailing efforts to reduce sexual assault on campus.
Both candidates have endorsements from various local officials and organizations, and both list incumbent Leland Pan as endorsing them. Pan could not be reached for comment.
In addition, both candidates’ emphasis on racial equality coincides with Blind Side, a political group that focuses on diversity and underrepresented students, winning 19 ASM seats.
The election is April 5, the same day as the Wisconsin presidential primary and Supreme Court race.