Editor’s Note: On March 31, 2021, the Daily Cardinal retracted this endorsement of Ayomi Obuseh for District 8 Alder following the candidate’s discouraging comments on sexual assault. Read the full statement here.
The whirlwind of national politics continues to take us by storm. In the midst of ongoing national crises — public health to racial reckoning to environmental degradation to the very livelihood of our democracy — local politics breathes in some fresh air of hope and trust in those who seek to represent us.
The race for District 8 alder on the Madison Common Council, a position that largely represents the University of Wisconsin campus and nearby neighborhoods, has long been held by a UW student. A representative who speaks up on campus safety and environmental justice in our communities and neighborhoods, while bringing in a unique and often overlooked perspective to policy making.
Ayomi Obuseh and Juliana Bennett — the candidates who aim to replace the seat currently held by Max Prestigiacomo — are clear indications of young civic leaders who are fighting for equity, sustainability and progressive policies. In their conversations with the Editorial Board, both candidates spoke extensively and passionately about their vision for Madison, a vision of affordable housing and public safety in the form of community control.
However, there is only one candidate that can both represent students and the heart of Madison as a community — only one candidate to implement change on day one.
Because of her experience advocating and working alongside fellow Madison residents and organizations, her diplomatic approach to city government and her knowledge on issues that most affect students and Madison-at-large, The Daily Cardinal Editorial Board is proudly endorsing Ayomi Obuseh for District 8 Alder.
For years, Ayomi has been an advocate of much needed change. She led the fight for teacher diversity at Madison West High School, co-founded Impact Demand — a youth-led activist group — and marched on Washington D.C. Clearly, Ayomi has been an active member of the Madison community pursuing justice and equity for all who call this city home.
However, it is not just her activism that sets Ayomi apart. On her first day in office, Ayomi is prepared to come in with legislation. Through the skills she developed as an intern for the City Council and State Senate, Ayomi is ready and familiar with the people and processes it takes to implement a wide variety of realistic policy changes.
For example, her affordable housing plans are centered around BIPOC communities building wealth. She plans to expand micro-lending programs for BIPOC nonprofits, work with ASM to connect students to housing resources, and produce creative projects like tiny homes. Essentially as an “economic justice project,” Ayomi sees housing as a necessary step in pursuing equity.
Beyond housing, she even has legislation that includes turning algae blooms into sustainable energy and introducing live streams to increase student accessibility to local government.
Ayomi also supports divesting from police and investing in communities. “It’s about public safety … it’s [about] resources and where to allocate resources,” she said to us. From continuing the civilian oversight board to redirecting resources towards a teen center, tenant protections and mental health programs, Ayomi is prepared to reimagine public and campus safety.
Perhaps most importantly, Ayomi also recognizes that to accomplish all these necessary goals, she must build coalitions and connect with people both inside and outside of politics. She understands how the divisiveness of today’s political arena is not one that is sustainable, and strives to communicate with clarity and openness to drive her agenda forward.
In her final statement, Ayomi emphasized how she was “tired of waiting,” and is ready to “get things moving.” She stressed that Madison “is her home” and that she is “excited to use [her] voice to amplify communities.”
Ultimately, Ayomi’s intersecting policy platforms that focus on equity and justice, along with her understanding of legislation and diplomatic approach to achieving these goals, are what drive the Cardinal Editorial Board to believe she is the best candidate to be District 8 alder.
Ayomi is tired of waiting for change to happen in city government, and tired of the historical injustices toward BIPOC communities. Are you? The Daily Cardinal Editorial Board strongly urges all campus community members to vote Ayomi Obuseh for Alder on April 6 — in her words, it’s “time to elect someone who is moving with passion and a plan.”
To learn more about Ayomi’s platforms and campaign, visit ayomi4alder.vote. And for voter information on the Spring 2021 Election, visit myvote.wi.gov.