Two political newcomers are competing in the April 2 election to replace Ald. Ledell Zellers, who didn’t seek re-election to the Madison City Council in District 2. The term is two years.
Address: 123 N. Blount St., Apt. 303
Job: Researcher, UW-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies
Prior elected office: None
Other public service: Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association Council member, 2013 to present; TLNA development chair, 2014 to present; Madison Zoning Board of Appeals, 2017 to present; graduate, 2018 Madison Police Department Community Academy; president, Das Kronenberg Condominium Association, 2011 to present; chair, board of directors, Equality Virginia, LGBTQ advocacy organization, 1993 to 2002
Education: Bachelor’s degree in science, meteorology, Iowa State University; graduate studies in meteorology, Iowa State University
Address: 1340 E. Dayton St., No. 1
Job: Office manager for a construction company; political consultant; student
Prior elected office: None
Other public service: Board of directors, Tenant Resource Center
Education: Current student at UW-Madison studying biochemistry
What makes you better qualified than your opponent for this position?
Heck: My years of activism with the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association provide me the experience and knowledge to advocate for District 2. I have actively participated in city processes, understand city ordinances, and have represented my neighbors often in city committee and common council meetings. My roots as a community organizer are firmly planted in my district rather than in political campaigns.
White: I’m a community organizer who’s spent years working to build coalitions around issues and win elections in my community. I have experience working with elected officials, nonprofits, and the private sector to get things done. I’m the only candidate with this experience, and the one best suited to engage the entire community when making decisions that affect the entire community.
What could the city do better and how would you help achieve that?
Heck: Madison must go further in addressing our well-documented racial- and social-equity problems. The empowered majority is finally recognizing that we all must face and rectify this problem if Madison is to thrive, but that is not enough. Every decision I make as a City Council member will consider whose voices are not being heard, who is being impacted, and who is benefiting.
White: We need to plan for Madison’s future. Madison needs a public transit system that’s a real alternative to driving. I will push for Bus Rapid Transit and to expand transit to under-served communities. We have an affordable housing crisis, and we must encourage more housing at all levels — and we must transition faster to being a 100 percent renewable, carbon-neutral city.
What would be your approach to development in Madison?
Heck: The city must address our housing shortage and affordability crisis. Middle- and lower-income residents are being priced out of their neighborhoods; they struggle to live near jobs, transit or services. Solutions include bolstering our public transportation system, incentivizing affordable housing in new developments, maintaining existing housing stock, expanding intentional communities and cooperative living, and allowing more multi-family developments city-wide.
White: 70,000 new people will move to Madison over the next 30 years. We must address our affordable housing crisis now. We should rewrite our outdated neighborhood plans, leverage TIF and federal opportunity zones, reduce single-family zoning, and expand the Affordable Housing Fund. We need to build enough to keep up so we don’t keep falling behind.