Dave Cieslewicz speaks at his mayoral reelection campaign kickoff party at the Palace Latin Club on Thursday, Nov. 30.
The Latin Palace Club is buzzing as Madison's candidates for city council chat about the upcoming April election and listen to the alt-rock harmonies of Blueheels. Former Ald. Gary Poulson says he's running again for the District 20 seat after his unsuccessful 2005 campaign to retake the seat he stepped down from in 2003. Of course, Poulson is at the club to support Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who also happens to be running.
"I'd like to see him in office again," Poulson says.
The rest of the crowd seems to agree, giving a loud applause as Cieslewicz takes the stage.
"We got Madison moving again and we got to keep it moving," Cieslewicz says. "Let's get together, have fun, and talk politics. But don't forget your nomination papers."
Nomination likely won't be a problem.
Among the dozens of supporters are Sheriff-elect Dave Mahoney, new District 17 candidate Joe Clausius, new District 19 candidate Mark Clear, and experienced council members such as Ald. Austin King and Ald. Robbie Webber.
"I was urging him to run two years before his first term," says Webber, who shares common interests on land use, "smart growth," and mass transit.
"We've got a lot of issues in common," says Poulson, adding that he doesn't agree a lot with the mayor's opponent, Ray Allen.
"I like (Allen) as a person and as a school board member," Poulson says. "But his criticisms on public safety, the water utility, and a weak business climate are too general."
The city council candidates, meanwhile, are already focusing on the issues important to them.
Poulson says he's running again because of the large turnover this year and friends have urged him to run to stabilize the council. Also, he wants to use his experience on the Transportation Commission to promote railways.
"It's the most cost-effective way to connect the region," Poulson says.
Mark Clear, who is competing against developer Curt Brink for Noel Radomski's seat, says he wants to challenge what he sees as "parochialism" between Madison and neighboring communities regarding economic growth.
"I would like to focus more on regional growth," Clear says. "Surrounding towns get business, but Madison makes that happen."
Joe Clausius, a member of the Board of Public Works and chair of the Affirmative Action Commission, says his focus is civil rights and traffic enforcement. He already has an endorsement from the Ald. Santiago Rosas, whose seat he hopes to gain.