So, as you may have seen from the Critical Badger, two students have filed to run for the open seat left by Ashok Kumar: Wyndham Manning and Conor O'Hagan. So what can we expect?
Conor O'Hagan, as was noted, is an active member of ASM. Suchita spoke quite highly of him, said that's he been a very involved member of ASM. He currently serves on the Morgridge Center Committee, Dean of Students Advisory Board, Student Organization Committee...the list goes on and on. And he's only a freshman? I'm trying to get some more information on him and have sent him something asking for a little more background, reasoning, etc.
Wyndham Manning, however, I do know him. Wyndham was the WUD Music Director last year, one of the prime organizers behind Madison Pop Fest and all-around mover and shaker in Madison's music scene. I've known him to be very opinionated about...well, everything. but didn't know he was interested in politics.
Of course, according to him, he really isn't. And that's part of his plan, according to an email he just sent:
I don't feel it necessary to have more of the "campus elite" (as you guys call them) stepping in line to take these offices, I want regular people to take control, the people who are passionate about the community, not the office. That's sort of how I envisioned Madison when I came here: a forward thinking progressive city run by very passionate people and that's what I want to try to add to. So returning to the original conception for running, I wanted to do it so that I could learn more indepth about how the city operates, how elections work and how I can turn my griping into solutions.
So, a political outsider, eh? Thinks he is just going to walk into the election and find his bearing on a County Board? Easy to be skeptical since he isn't an active political operative. However, considering how he's been pretty vocal about how Madison could be run with more efficiency (although that isn't just the county), it might be best that way. Ashok Kumar may have alienated people given his position in SLAC, but Wyndham could actually attract a more diverse student body if he targets them right. But then again, there is always the possibility of a different sort of elitism to surface along the way. (music snobs, anyone? I know I am.)
However, something that did sound interesting is that he had some plans to run an alternative campaign of guerilla political campaigning - a way of reaching students on this campus without being stiff and pointing out the problems of this city. A different approach would be useful at this point. The usual protests don't seem to garner nearly as much support as they did in the old days and one thing seems to be missing from this city: political energy. If Wyndham can bring it (and his partnership with Jesse Russell could help), he could do a lot of good for Dane County.
But, that's yet to be seen. When it comes time to vote, we'll need to see specific positions and initiatives. Wyndham doesn't seem to have any specifics yet. Certainly, he just got into it, but I'll keep prodding him. Once I get some word from Conor, I'll provide another post.