Interesting development in downtown student politics:
Former Badger Herald columnists Sam Stevenson and Kyle Szarzynski announced Monday afternoon they will both run for seats in downtown districts. Stevenson will run against current Ald. Bridget Maniaci for the District 2 seat on the Near East side, while Szarzynski will run for the campus-area District 8 seat.
This should be very interesting. For starters, will Stevenson's competence in print translate into a competent campaign against Maniaci? A grad student in public health, Stevenson is active in Student Progressive Dane and is an occasional commenter on The Sconz.
As for the second candidate, it will be interesting to see if a guy once described in the Daily Cardinal as "Campus malcontent Kyle Szarzynski" has what it takes to convince student voters that progressivism isn't as scary as some of the insult-laden rants on his blog would indicate. For a quick preview of this tendency, I would suggest his dissertation on why yours truly is an "anti-leftist leftist," or this post, in which he calls a Badger Herald opinion editor a "white supremacist" and a "rapist apologist." A talented writer and thinker, Szarzynski is nevertheless a hopeless candidate unless he can prove that he is no longer the bridge-burner that he known to be on campus.
In an interview with The Sconz, Szarzynski said his website would be soon, and would highlight his top five policy focuses, which he labeled "Responsible Campus Safety," "Economic Justice," "Tenants Rights," "Increasing Entertainment Options Downtown," and "Social Justice."
Szarzynski says he hopes to develop a better relationship between MPD and students through community policing and a move away from policies that interfere with student social activities, including parties.
He also highlighted his support for workers rights, and offered the possible privatization of workers at the Overture Center as an example of workers getting shafted by city policy.
Like Eagon, he advocates more nighttime venues for underage students, who are largely kept out of many entertainment hubs because of the drinking age. He also hopes to de-prioritize crack downs on underage drinkers by MPD.
He also voiced a need to review racial disparities in the justice system in Madison and believes MPD could benefit from greater diversity, including more women in leadership positions.
As for the incumbent, it is my guess at this time that Eagon will not be running for re-election, although I cannot confirm that.