Dear Editor: When an alder steps down and an appointment needs to happen, City Council traditionally avoids approving an appointee who is planning to run for the position in the future. While it cannot be enforced, they try to appoint people who will not run because it can create an advantage for the appointee by being an “incumbent.” It can enable the appointed alder to use legislative actions in order to help secure their continued position. An appointed alder has the position of notability and recognition without having been chosen by the voters of their district.
District 19 is currently experiencing this exact scenario. Council appointed Keith Furman in August. He now is “the incumbent.” A recent Isthmus article quoted Furman saying, “Since being appointed, I’ve focused on getting as many people as possible to run for the position.” However, he offered no defense for his decision to go back on his word, and decide to run for alder this term. It’s still unclear to me as a voter why he decided to make use of his advantageous position.
We have another choice in District 19 and I encourage all of my neighbors to learn more about his challenger, Allison Martinson.
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