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Current District 8 Alder, legal assistant to run for District 2 Alder

District 8 Ald. Juliana Bennett and legislative staff member Colin Barushok have announced their candidacy for District 2 aldermen in the April 4, 2023, Community Council election.

Bennett, a business student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has served as District 8 Alder since 2021. Barushok serves as a legislative assistant at the State Senate and previously served as a medical licensing program fellow for Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Bennett said she will prioritize addressing Madison’s housing crisis and the city’s budget shortfall. In particular, Bennett said she will continue to advocate for affordable housing as District 2 Alderman.

“In downtown Madison, we are entering an affordability crisis,” Bennett said. “The current path we are on limits who can live, work and do business in downtown Madison. District 2 should be accessible to all people, especially those with low income status, young people and local businesses.”

Barushok emphasized his support for improving Downtown Madison’s economy. He said he supports promoting investment in businesses and tourism on State Street, including turning the street into a pedestrian mall.

“I will work with experts and do the complicated legwork to achieve a pedestrian mall, starting one block at a time,” Barushok said. “I will support policies to invest in promoting our city centre, which will attract new residents, businesses and tourists. We also need to increase food and art sales on State Street and elsewhere.”

Both candidates expressed support for increasing funding for Madison CAREan initiative that dispatches mental health care workers to respond to mental health emergencies as an alternative to law enforcement action.

Bennett said her work on the Common Council and her advocacy for issues facing young people show her commitment to her constituents.

“For the past two years, I’ve prioritized bringing the voices of young people to the table,” Bennett said. “We have made significant progress in terms of adopting affordable housing policies, creating solutions for the homeless population, funding alternative sources of violence prevention and more. I have a proven track record of prioritizing and fighting for my constituent’s needs.”

Barushok said his experience working with health workers during the pandemic gave him the tools to tackle major issues facing the city.

“I worked with doctors and other health care professionals to help them get licenses, provided individual service and helped them get to work,” Barushok said. “I learned what it takes for government and stakeholders to come together to respond to a major crisis.”

Incumbent District 2 Ald. Patrick Heck declined to run for re-election, leaving the seat open in 2023. Heck cited the redistricting map approved by the city in 2021 citing his residence outside the District as his reason for not running for re-election.

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“While an alder can be a lot of work, it’s also very satisfying,” Heck said in a statement. “Not only have I enjoyed the privilege of representing my constituents, but I have also found great satisfaction in working with city staff, other aldermen, the mayor’s office and many stakeholders as we move Madison forward.”

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