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School Board candidate Wayne Strong to campaign on 'limited basis' after medical incident
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School Board candidate Wayne Strong to campaign on 'limited basis' after medical incident

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Wayne Strong will campaign for the Madison School Board after all, although he’ll do so on a “limited basis” after a medical incident last week.

Strong, who is challenging Seat 7 incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen in his third attempt to join the School Board, suspended his campaign last week when he fainted the day after the deadline to file paperwork to run in the spring election.

On Jan. 8, Strong said he was at a local Democratic Party meeting when he felt symptoms of vasovagal syncope coming on — the medical term for a fainting spell brought on when someone’s heart rate and blood pressure drop simultaneously. It happens to more than 3 million Americans each year and can occur when someone sees blood or experiences severe emotional distress, among other reasons, according to the Mayo Clinic.

As he was leaving the meeting, Strong said he collapsed.

The 60-year-old Strong, a retired Madison police lieutenant and a program associate for the National Council on Crime & Delinquency, said the condition occurs infrequently, usually with several years between episodes.

He said he had asked the Madison Clerk’s Office to suspend his campaign until he was able to see his doctor Tuesday.

“After consultation with her, we decided that I could resume my campaign on a limited basis,” Strong said.

Strong said he’ll make a final determination on whether he’s medically OK to fully campaign sometime before the Feb. 18 primary, which will include one board race on the ballot but not the contest between Vander Meulen and Strong.

“I think I’ll be fine, but my doctor just wants to monitor things,” he said. “At this point, I feel relatively certain that I should be able to continue.”

In the meantime, Strong, who lost board races in 2013 and 2014, said he intends to answer questionnaires and attempt to attend as many candidate forums as he can.

Vander Meulen, a criminal defense lawyer, is seeking her second three-year term on the board after winning election in 2017.

Regardless of whether Strong decides to continue the campaign, his name will remain on the April 7 general election ballot because he handed in all necessary paperwork by the Jan. 7 deadline.

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