Jeff Hynes, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, is running unopposed to replace Elena Haasl as the Dane County District 5 supervisor. Despite his imminent assumption of the position after the April 5 election, the Hynes campaign has provided no information regarding the candidate’s policy platform or qualifications.
Dane County’s fifth district encompasses a majority of the UW-Madison campus and is predominantly populated by students. District 5 is currently represented by Elena Haasl, a UW-Madison senior, who declined to run for a second term in office after being elected to the position in 2020.
The Hynes campaign has not yet released a website or made any public social media posts to promote his candidacy, which leaves Hynes’ ambitions as a public official ambiguous. Hynes has declined to respond to several inquiries made by The Daily Cardinal.
The District 5 position was not initially uncontested; Shawn Scott, a 2011 Madison Area Technical College graduate, was disqualified after failing to file the appropriate paperwork.
Hynes currently attends UW-Madison as a senior where he studies pre-law; he has also served as a vice president for the university’s Pre-Law Society. No organization associated with the university or otherwise has publicly announced an endorsement of Hynes at this point in time.
The College Democrats of UW-Madison, which endorsed Haasl’s campaign in 2020, did not respond to requests for comment.
Haasl has been in contact with the Hynes Campaign. They provided some assistance regarding Hynes’ election efforts, but explained that these actions have been largely informal.
“I actually reached out to him. He didn't reach out to me,” Haasl told the Cardinal. “I’m not really helping out with his campaign, I'm more so just advising and giving him pointers on how to run a campaign and what he needs, especially his policy platform.”
Haasl added that they are vaguely aware of the policies which Hynes wishes to pursue as a county board supervisor, but was unable to describe any details regarding specific goals he hopes to achieve while in office.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any information on his policy platform,” Haasl said. “I think he stands for a lot of social justice causes, but I also know he sought out after the police union’s endorsement and wants to put more money towards the jail. I don’t have his policy platform on that, that’s just what I heard from other supervisors… I hope he has a good structure in place and will be committed.”
Haasl has previously opposed providing additional funding towards the construction of a new Dane County jail facility and has been a critic of law enforcement agencies located in the county. Another representative of the student-majority campus area, District 8 Alder Juliana Bennett, has also voiced opposition to continued efforts to construct a new jail.
Haasl elaborated that they have encouraged Hynes to make efforts to make his policy platform more available to the public in order to ensure the interests of District 5 residents.
“I’ve been reaching out to see how things are going or making sure he's on track,” Haasl stated. “He says he’s really busy, but I’ve told him he has to respond to newspapers and have [his] policy platforms flushed out because that's the most important part of running a campaign.”
When asked about their impressions of Hynes, Haasl explained that they hope that he will serve as an effective public official, but expressed uncertainty regarding Hynes’ ability to assume the role as District 5 supervisor.
“I hope that he will [serve effectively],” Haasl said. “It seems like he already has connections on the county board, so hopefully he will be able to catch on and be an effective representative for his district. But, [I] can't say for sure.”
Elections for Dane County Board supervisors are scheduled to take place on April 5. Hynes is one of 29 supervisor candidates to run unopposed in their respective districts.