Eighteen-year-old Max Prestigiacomo will serve as Madison’s Common Council District 8 alder after the upcoming April election.
Prestigiacomo launched his campaign in November with platforms focused on fair housing, sustainability and social justice. While elections for the position will be held April 7, Prestigiacomo is the only person who filed as a candidate listed for the position, according to the city’s website. He is running unopposed.
“It’s not the campaign I thought it was going to be. Civically, it’s not a great thing that I don’t have an opponent,” Prestigiacomo stated. “It’s the exact reason I’m in this race. No one really realizes that there’s an election and people aren’t connected to city issues.”
Prestigiacomo is a freshman at UW-Madison majoring in Political Science and History. He was the Wisconsin State Leader for the March 15 Climate Strike, previously serving as the executive director of the Youth Climate Action Team.
He is currently endorsed by Sally Rohrer — the current District 8 seat holder — Avra Reddy — the former elected District 8 alder — and Hayley Young, the District 5 supervisor.
When he is elected, Prestigiacomo will also be the youngest elected official in Wisconsin — though he hasn’t always wanted to serve in local government.
“I didn’t like politics ever. I didn’t want to be involved. And then the 2016 election came around and I started realizing that people need to step up,” Prestigiacomo said.
Prestigiacomo was inspired by Bernie Sanders at a rally at the Alliant Energy Center. Hearing the presidential candidate talk about young people motivated Prestigiacomo to re-examine his frustration with the political system and put it into action.
“I realized that I can’t be relying on international institutions when they’re so bogged down with bureaucratic systems that prevent them from actually doing the work that’s stated in their mission,” Prestigiacomo said. “So I thought, city council, local government — that’s the most efficient, most powerful way that we can make change.”
Prestigiacomo plans on being more vocal than past alders as he approaches the position from an activist’s perspective — as opposed to a politician. He wants to see new efforts in the city’s plans to use renewable energy by 2050, as well as forestry efforts as it pertains to the climate crisis.
Prestigiacomo plans on running again after his first term to ensure that he has time to complete his goals regarding Madison’s Sustainability Plan and representation for youths in local government.
“I’m focused on making positive change for my community — the community I love, the community I was born in and the community that raised me,” he said.