Candidate Q&A: Madison City Council District 19
Two candidates are vying for a seat on the Madison City Council in District 19 in the April 2 election. The term is two-years. (I) indicates incumbent.
Keith Furman (I)
Address: 5235 Harbor Court
Job: IT Consultant
Prior elected office: Appointed interim City Council member for 19th District, August 2018
Other public service: Chairman, Hoboken Planning Board; condo board president, 1200 Grand Association, Hoboken, New Jersey, October 2007 to April 2013; member, Spring Harbor Neighborhood Association
Education: Computer science coursework at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey
Allison E. Martinson
Address: 340 Island Drive, No. 5
Family: Married with one daughter
Job: Nonprofit outreach/community relations
Prior elected office: None
Other public service: Madison Food Policy Council, volunteer for REAP and organizer of speakers for Madison Non-Profit Day
Education: Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, history and philosophy, Rocky Mountain College
What makes you better qualified than your opponent for this position?
Furman: Having run small businesses in the context of technology that changed wildly has taught me to be constantly open to new ideas, while also making sensible choices. Representing a district requires that range: from fielding questions about garbage pickup to navigating budget challenges, my experience allows me to see things from multiple perspectives, ask good questions and implement effective solutions.
Martinson: As a working mother and active community member, I know firsthand how important it is that our local representatives understand and advocate for working families. As your City Council member, I will ensure that the values important to our families and our neighborhoods shape city policy. I will champion issues like better public transportation, affordable housing for families, and safe neighborhoods.
What could the city do better and how would you help achieve that?
Furman: Address inequality. While Madison as a whole is thriving, there are still people left behind. We must continue to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working so we can continue to move forward. I’d work on making government more accessible to help produce better solutions, support additional affordable housing and improved transit options.
Martinson: As our city grows, we face new challenges. For example, public transit has not kept pace, which is why I will work to implement Bus Rapid Transit to improve the efficiency and frequency of routes. Our public safety needs have grown. I will prioritize ensuring our community is a great place for all Madisonians.
What is the most pressing issue in the district and how would you resolve it?
Furman: Flooding. Our neighborhoods were significantly impacted by flash flooding after last summer’s storms. Regionally, the city must work with the county and state to take climate change mitigation steps. In the 19th District, we can increase resilience by updating development ordinances and upgrading infrastructure. I can coordinate efforts between the city, developers and residents and help all parties be accountable.
Martinson: Public safety is a growing concern in our West Side neighborhoods and requires a holistic approach. I will use my experience in nonprofit outreach and community relations to bring together experts in criminal justice, essential services, and community leadership to solve the problems that we face and keep our neighborhoods safe.