City News

City council expects many new members after spring elections

Madison’s city council will have several new members after at least eight alders declared their intentions not to seek re-election.

Image By: Jon Yoon

Madison’s city council will have several fresh faces in its chambers come April, as at least eight of its members will not run for re-election.

Following a summer in which three alders resigned, the council has already experienced a large amount of turnover in recent months. So far, only four alders have confirmed they will run, having filed Declarations of Candidacy with the city clerk’s office. Eight have either filed Notifications of Noncandidacy or otherwise said they will not run.

Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, has served on the council since 2013. She announced her decision to stay out of the election in a blog post in mid-November.

“I have come to the difficult decision not to run for reelection as alder,” Zellers said. “I have been honored to represent you.”

Ald. Zach Wood, District 8, has represented the campus area and much of student housing since he was first elected as a UW-Madison senior in 2015. He announced he would step aside to allow a different voice to represent the student body.

“I no longer believe I am the person to best fill the role,” he said. “I have no qualms about stepping aside and creating room for new, young leaders in our community to step up.”

Two UW-Madison freshmen have already declared their candidacy.

Longtime alders Larry Palm, District 12, and Matt Phair, District 20, both announced they would step down after 14 and eight years of service, respectively.

“It is time to step aside and allow for fresh leadership to emerge,” Phair said. “I will look back fondly on the relationships I've built in District 20 and on the Council and am proud of the progress we made together.”

Ald. David Ahrens has also said he will not stand for re-election, citing the often “frustrating” work he’s had to do. Ald. Steve King, District 7, has not made an announcement, though he has filed a Notification of Noncandidacy. Ald. Allen Arntsen, District 13, was appointed over the summer following Sara Eskrich’s resignation. On the day he was sworn in, Arntsen announced he was “committed to not seek reelection,” which he repeated several times in his updates to constituents.

Ald. Maurice Cheeks, District 10, has thrown his hat in the ring for mayor, leaving his seat open for other candidates.

Eight alders have yet to announce their intentions to run again, leaving the door open for even more change. However it shapes up, the council stands to see at least a third of its members change after the April 2 elections. 

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