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District 13 City Council candidates

From top left clockwise, Tag Evers, David Hoffert, Justin Kirchen and Lee Lazar are running for District 13. 

Four are campaigning for the District 13 seat on the Madison City Council. Ald. Allen Arntsen took over representing the district in August after former alder Sara Eskrich left the position mid-term.

The primary election is Feb. 19. The two candidates with the most votes will be on the general election ballot April. 2. 


Tag Evers

Tag Evers 

Tag Evers 

Age: 62

Profession: Senior talent buyer for FPC Live

Education: Bachelor of arts degree with honors in economics from Wright State University, master of arts degree in agricultural and applied economics from UW-Madison

Political experience: None

Other public service: Fundraising through self-founded company True Endeavors, volunteer with Haiti Allies, a Madison-based non-profit supporting a school in Cité Soleil, an extremely impoverished settlement on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince

Campaign website: www.tagevers.com

What brought you to Madison? How long have you lived in the city and in your district?

I moved to Madison in 1988 to attend grad school at the UW, where, concerned by the threat of global environmental crises, I studied natural resource economics. I started Tag Team Productions in 1992, which eventually became True Endeavors. In the years since, I’ve had the privilege of organizing over 2,500 events in clubs and theaters in Madison. In 2006, I purchased my home on Keyes Avenue in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood.

Why are you running for City Council?

I’ve spent the last 25+ years bringing people together around music. I’m running for City Council to bring people together around the ideas that will make Madison a place where everyone can thrive.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

I’ve lived in Madison for over 30 years and have developed a wide range of relationships in the public and private sector. I have decades of experience managing complex situations, navigating difficult personalities and gaining positive results.

What is the greatest challenge facing a) Madison and b) your district and how do you plan to fix it?

We must extend the benefits of living in Madison more equitably. Madison gets high marks as a great place to live for various reasons, but the fact remains Madison is not one city, but two. We’re experiencing tremendous growth as a city, but that growth risks greater inequality, more traffic congestion, and increased stress on our lakes. Climate change, we’re told, is coming at us like “a speeding freight train,” NYT 12/5/18.

With an anticipated 70,000 new residents by the year 2040, we must embrace density and infill. The South Park Street corridor is targeted for development, and the Triangle will soon be undergoing redevelopment. This requires a proactive approach bringing neighbors together around inclusive solutions that promote diversity, housing affordability, workforce development, energy efficiency, transit alternatives and walkability. The equity lens must be in the forefront. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of “the fierce urgency of now.” The time is now for bold action, to not take no for an answer, to think outside the box and work collaboratively for a Madison that works for all. Thinking globally, acting locally, we can make a difference!

What do you love most about your district?

I love that District 13 is nestled around Lake Wingra and Monona Bay, bordering the Arboretum and Wingra Creek. These are urban oases, offering a measure of peace and calm in our busy lives. As our city grows, we must be vigilant to protect these natural spaces. I remain strongly opposed to Edgewood’s proposed stadium because it’s a poor fit for a neighborhood in such close proximity to Lake Wingra, Madison’s quietest lake.


David Hoffert

David Hoffert 

David Hoffert

Age: 32

Profession: Technical trainer at Epic

Education: Master's degree in public policy from Stanford University in 2012, master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 2010, bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and computer science from UW-Madison in 2008

Political experience: President of the Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association, former president of the Parkwood Hills Community Association

Other public service: Member, Madison Area Transportation Planning Board, Citizen Advisory Council, 2014-2016; Volunteer, Wisconsin Public Television, 2002-Present; Assistant Forensics Coach, James Madison Memorial High School, 2013-2017 

Campaign website: www.davidhoffert.com

What brought you to Madison? How long have you lived in the city and in your district?

I was born and raised in Madison, leaving only for graduate school and returning in 2012. My wife and I bought our current house in District 13 in September 2015.

Why are you running for City Council?

I'm running for City Council for one simple reason: I love this city. I was born and raised here, and now I've chosen to raise my family here as well. As Madison transitions from a big little city to a little big city, I want to make sure that it remains desirable, and accessible, to others who love it or will love it like I do.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

The main thing that sets me apart from the opponents I know of is that I've been doing this kind of work, in my capacity as president of two different neighborhood associations, for several years already. That has given me a lot of perspective on how to navigate thorny issues and make sure that everyone is heard and represented, and I would bring that perspective with me to the Common Council. I've become known as somebody who listens to everyone and guides the community toward collaborative solutions; I'm very proud of that track record.

What is the greatest challenge facing a) Madison and b) your district and how do you plan to fix it?

I think the greatest challenge facing Madison is affordability. Our tech-driven economy is working very well for some but is leaving others in the dust. I don't want to see Madison become like the west coast communities I lived in during graduate school where teachers and public service workers can't afford to live in the community they serve. The most important things we can do to combat this are to continue investing in affordable housing projects all across the city, and generally growing the tax base so that property tax burden growth can be kept to a minimum.

Both of those solutions involve development, which in turn is the biggest issue facing District 13. I think most of the District 13 residents share my values on things like affordability, but we need to manage the resulting development in such a way that neighbors have a genuine seat at the table, early in the process, so that they can be comfortable with the ways in which our city and neighborhoods continue to evolve. I believe that the experience I have built up leading neighborhood associations puts me in a unique position to be able to advocate for both neighborhoods having a voice *and* the broader city values we all want and need.

What do you love most about your district?

I love the vitality of my neighborhood, in every sense of that word. Within one block of my house I have the ability to walk my dog along tree-lined streets or go out to eat at one of Madison's best restaurants. In less than 15 minutes my wife can walk to her work, my children will be able to walk to their high school, and my family can walk to the zoo. Having this much diversity of experiences all within easy walking distance of my house is an incredibly unusual opportunity, even within Madison, and I cherish it.


Justin Kirchen

Justin Kirchen 

Justin Kirchen

Age: 29

Profession: Financial services

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from Marquette University in Milwaukee

Political experience: none

Other public service: none

What brought you to Madison? How long have you lived in the city and in your district?

My wife Samina and I moved to Madison in 2015 for more permanent job opportunities. After three years of renting our house near Brittingham Park on Rodney Court, we had the opportunity to purchase the home for ourselves!

Why are you running for City Council?

My wife and I are hoping to start a family in the near future. We are extremely concerned about our ability to afford the skyrocketing property taxes and raise a family. The increased crime and deteriorating quality of the public school system are other great concerns. I want to be a part of the solution.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

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I represent the new class of working young professionals. I understand the perspective of the residents that Madison is experiencing the most growth from because I am one of them. Having worked in the financial services industry, I have a strong analytical perspective. I believe I can bring the much needed skill set of financial discipline to the city council.

What is the greatest challenge facing a) Madison and b) your district and how do you plan to fix it?

Madison currently has $677 million in outstanding debt.

Now that we are in a rising interest rate environment, the city will no longer be able to continue refinancing debt at low interest rates. This burden will be placed directly on residents through higher property taxes and reduced public services.

Debt service has increased from 10 percent ($20 million) of the annual budget in 2008, to 15 percent ($47 million) in 2018. It is projected to skyrocket to 20 percent of the annual budget by 2023. That is more than we spend on our libraries ($16 million). More than we spend on our parks ($14 million). More than we spend on public safety ($46 million). Almost more than fire prevention ($50 million).

We need to prioritize spending on core public services and take serious measures to reduce our debts before it is too late.

What do you love most about your district?

My neighbors, neighborhood and sense of community.


Lee Lazar

Lee Lazar

Lee Lazar

Age: 41

Profession: Insurance agent

Education: Bachelor of arts degree in economics and English from University of Michigan in 2000, masters of business administration from Depaul University in 2006

Political Experience: None

Other Public Service: Member of the Village of Oak Park, Illinois Transportation Commissioner from 2011 to 2014

What brought you to Madison? How long have you lived in the city and in your district?

Our family moved to Madison in 2014 when my wife was recruited to work at Meriter Hospital. We have lived here in our district for four and a half years.

Why are you running for City Council?

I am running for City Council because it is time for me to offer to serve the community I live in and bring stability and strong representation to a seat that has turned over too many times since I moved here.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

Three things set me apart from my opponents:

  • I am the candidate most steadfastly in favor of the Edgewood Stadium expansion.
  • My main platform objective is responsible management of our city's growth and development. Increased density in my neighborhood is an inevitability, it is not an issue up for debate.
  • I do not believe money should be involved in politics. I am not raising any funds for my campaign.

What is the greatest challenge facing a) Madison and b) your district and how do you plan to fix it?

Responsibly managing the growth of our community is the number one challenge facing Madison and my District. Mayor Soglin made an impression on me when he spoke before the Downtown Rotary in 2017. Even when all of the housing under construction is brought online in the marketplace, because of the growth we are experiencing, residential vacancy rates will remain under 2 percent. The City Council needs to address growth in three ways:

  • Be more flexible with conditional use permits in order to increase the likelihood of project success and profitability, in order to foster the development needed to facilitate our city's growth.
  • Create new incentives for development tied to fair housing, equality, and improvement of real estate stock across the marketplace.
  • When the time comes, amend the Master Plan to deal with growth and equality accordingly.

What do you love most about your district?

I love living in a residential neighborhood that is also an bustling urban area. My family and I can walk to work, the store, a great restaurant, the beach, or a sporting event. We are fortunate to live in District 13.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.