Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway announced this week that she won't run for reelection in the spring, joining at least five other council members who are stepping down.
Nominating petitions cannot be circulated until next month. But so far alders Lauren Cnare, Bridget Maniaci, Brian Solomon and Jill Johnson have all announced they will not run for reelection.
Ald. Larry Palm has also announced he won't run again for his east side district, which he was moved out of through redistricting. But Rhodes-Conway's announcement leaves open the possibility he'll run for her post, which is his new district.
"I'll only be 40 next year, so I'm young enough to recognize life has a lot of opportunities for me," Palm says. "I'll just have to take it into account. I do love the job."
First elected in 2007, Rhodes-Conway says she decided the time was right to step down. "I've done it for six years. I hope I've done a good job," she says. "I'm ready to move on and do something else." A strong advocate for human services and open government, Rhodes-Conway is part of the council's liberal block. But she also occasionally breaks rank, as she did in not supporting more money for the Overture Center in the 2013 budget deliberations.
All 20 members of the Common Council are elected to two-year terms. The number of vacancies so far announced is not unusual. Somewhat less typical is that all of the vacancies -- except for Solomon's -- are on the city's east side.
Of those who have announced they're stepping down, Cnare is the longest serving, having first been elected in 2005. Johnson has served only one term.
At least one of the seats already has two candidates. Ledell Zellers, who has been active in historic preservation and Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., has announced she'll run for Maniaci's downtown and near east side seat. And Arthur Kohl-Riggs, who ran in the GOP primary against Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election, announced Tuesday that he's running for the seat.
In an effort to attract candidates, Palm, Cnare and Johnson are hosting an informational meeting for anyone who is interested in running for alder in their districts. The meeting will be Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m. at the Pinney Library on Cottage Grove Road.
In addition to the Common Council vacancies, there will also likely be an election to fill the downtown seat for the Dane County Board, which is being vacated by Scott McDonell, who was elected county clerk.
So far, at least two people -- Adam Brabender and Mary Kolar -- have declared they'll run for his seat.