Following Ald. Marsha Rummel’s statement Wednesday that she will not run for re-election, two candidates — Brian Benford and Shawn Matson — have announced their intent to run for her seat representing District 6 on the Madison Common Council.
Rummel was elected onto the Madison Common Council in 2007 and for 13 years has advocated for affordable housing, urban revitalization, environmental protections and clean resources. As the Council President from 2017-2018, she led efforts in her district to establish best practices for the Madison Police Department after three officers were involved in shootings in 2012. In addition, she has dedicated herself to addressing race, immigration and LGBTQ+ issues in the community. Rummel’s retirement from City Council makes her the fourth council member to announce they will not seek re-election.
Brian Benford, a former Dis. 12 Alder on the Madison Common Council, announced his candidacy on Dec. 3. For 30 years, Benford has been working in community-based organizations to support and uplift marginalized communities.
“As a former Madison alderperson, president of the City of Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commission, advocate, educator and activist, I have served children, parents, families and communities to reach their full potentials,” he stated in his announcement. “Long before the uncertain times brought on by COVID-19, I have fought tirelessly to provide a voice for those that are underrepresented in Madison. I will continue this fight as your next alderperson for District 6.”
His goals as an alderperson for Dis. 6 include refiguring public safety issues, fighting for affordable housing and creating more opportunities for sustainable jobs. He wants to ensure everyone living in Madison has an equal chance to take a seat at the table.
Shawn Matson, a high school history teacher and advocate for racial justice and education, announced his candidacy on Twitter Thursday morning.
This announcement garnered support from people in and outside Dis. 6, including Rep. Francesca Hong’s Chief-of-Staff Nada Elmikashfi, who responded, “All my friends are running for county, city and district-wide races. They’re all young, diverse and working class. Shawn, you’re going to absolutely kill it.”
While Matson has not yet issued a formal announcement, he has promised that his initial statement to the public will include issues he feels are central to Madison, as well as specific ordinances that he hopes to introduce to the council. On social media, he said that Madison needs a wage theft ordinance, more community reinvestment, fully-funded schools and better solutions to solve homelessness.
Overall, both candidates are strong advocates for issues of inequality within marginalized communities. While Benford has more experience working within Madison communities, Matson has a strong voice and a passion about local politics.
The Dis. 6 seat, as well as all 20 city council seats, will be on the ballot in the spring. The general election will take place April 6.