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David Ahrens

Ald. David Ahrens, District 15, announced he is seeking the District 17 seat on the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Madison east side Ald. David Ahrens announced Thursday he is running for an open seat on the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Ahrens, who represents District 15 on the City Council, is seeking the county board’s District 17 seat. Former supervisor Jeff Pertl represented the east side of Madison on the county board from 2012 until February, when he resigned to accept an appointment in Gov. Tony Evers’ administration.

“I’ve enjoyed participating in civic life, and I think I’ve been good at it,” Ahrens said. “I just wanted to, more or less, change the field.”

After six years on the City Council, Ahrens decided not to seek re-election this spring. He said last year that he is frustrated with the city’s priorities. During his time on the City Council, Ahrens has argued to hold the line on city spending and has been an outspoken opponent of the Judge Doyle Square redevelopment project downtown, the Public Market and the Garver Feed Mill.

If elected to the County Board, Ahrens said he is interested in navigating conflicts between the city and county over highway jurisdiction and making sure county taxpayers in Madison “receive their fair share of county services.” He also is interested in the future redevelopment of the Alliant Energy Center and lake level issues.

Ahrens would also want to continue his work in sustainability, if elected to the County Board.

“I’ve been very involved with the city’s carbon neutral and sustainability efforts, and the county is really working its way to be a national leader in that,” Ahrens said. “That’s incredibly exciting, and I want to see how that rolls out.”

Ahrens said his knowledge on city issues would be helpful in improving communication between the two units of government. While he feels there is productive communication at the mid-management level, Ahrens said it deteriorates at higher levels.

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In addition to Pertl, former supervisors Jenni Dye, who represented District 33 in Fitchburg, and Mary Kolar, District 1, resigned from the board to accept state jobs.

Elizabeth Doyle is running to represent District 1, which represents downtown Madison. Doyle works for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and previously served on the Verona City Council from 2013-2018.

“County wide collaboration is essential to properly mitigate flooding that has damaged homes and businesses both in downtown Madison and throughout Dane County,” Doyle said in a statement. “I will use my unique experience and knowledge to make sure downtown Madison continues to be a safe and healthy place to live and thrive.”

Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan said a resolution scheduling the special election will come before the board March 21, the first day candidates can begin circulating nomination papers. If approved, the special election will be June 4. If needed, a primary election would be May 7. 

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