Student runs for seat on city council

Ryan Spoehr, News Editor

Spencer White, a current Madison Area Technical College student, is running for a position on Madison’s city council. White is challenging Joe Clausius in the race for District 17, an area the covers much of the north and east sides of the city, including the Truax campus. This will be White’s first time running for office.

“I’d like to have a say in city government. I would like to represent the youth. I feel that we are not active enough in city government,” White said. “I believe I would be a good channel for them to become involved.”

White has been a student at Madison College since 2005. Originally studying hotel and restaurant management, White became a part of the liberal arts/transfer program in 2008.

“I’d like to be a strong voice for Madison College on the council,” White said. “I think one of the integral things of why the 17th District is such a strong fit for me is because I understand how Madison College really effects the city.”

For the majority of the past year, he has held the title of executive director at the Volunteer Center. He’s also spent time volunteering at River Food Pantry and Eastside Community Center.

“I’d like to see my candidacy as more of community activist role,” White said.

As a member of the city council, he promises to approach the position as a way to bring the community together.

“An issue really facing my district is we have an incredibly high foreclosure rate. We have one of the highest concentrations in all of Dane County,” White said. “I think we really need to take a strong approach to find those people jobs.”

White added that he believed the Madison College referendum being passed back in November will help get some of those people jobs. He has goals such as filling food pantries and to form neighborhood watches.

If White wins in the election, his focus will be on the local arts scene, especially the Overture Center. One idea that White has is to take the center and turn it into a local arts community center in order to highlight local theatres, sculptors and painters. White said that it can be done with little cost to the city and would open it up for people’s use.

“I think we should look at how many things we can continue to offer for free. I think the arts should be free in all communities,” White said. “I grew up in New York. I had the privilege of having two excellent museums that were for free. I think the children of Madison need that as well.”

White believes that the people in District 17 are looking for a candidate who doesn’t let their political beliefs get in the way of helping the people. As far as timetables go, White has none.

“I’d like to be involved with city government as long as the constituents of the 17th District keep sending me back,” White said. “I think as I get older and as I go through different careers and my family enters different phases and we start buying homes, I will continue to have a voice that will represent all of us.”