Stretching from Camp Randall to the tip of Allied Drive along Lake Wingra, District 10 covers some of the city's most disparate neighborhoods. It includes the urban bustle and development adjacent to the UW campus, stately homes nestled along Nakoma Drive, and Madison's most notorious street. With the retirement of sixteen-year alder Ken Golden, four district residents are seeking to represent this area on the city council.
Chris Ogden has lived and worked in the district for thirty years, owning and operating Happy's Heating and Air Conditioning in the Dunn's Marsh neighborhood. He is currently the commander of the Westside Memorial American Legion Post 151, and identifies "safety, quality of life, and fiscal security" as his priorities for district residents.
A brief interview with Ogden follows below.
The Daily Page: District 10 includes some of the city's wealthiest residents in the Nakoma neighborhood and some of the city's poorest on Allied Drive. How will you balance each community's interests as their representative on the Council?
Ogden: As issues arise in each neighborhood I will address them equally and seek solutions regardless of economic status.
How will you improve on longtime Ald. Ken Golden's record for representing the breadth of the district?
I expect only to represent the District and my neighbors as well as Ken Golden.
Why did you decide to run your campaign for less than $1,000 in donations?
I prefer not to be financially tied to interest groups. I am participating in interviews with a number of organizations from whom I may seek non-financial support. I think this is the type of grassroots support I can live with.
What is the ideal level of development and traffic along Monroe Street?
As a major artery into Madison and downtown those of us who use it every day know it is at its maximum use. Additional development on this street has to be tempered with the knowledge it runs through a residential neighborhood.
You say running your own business for three decades gives you "the ability to evaluate many factors of a problem and work effectively toward a solution, [the] ability to work on problems with groups of individuals with diverse personalities," and an attention to detail. Can you give an example of how you've done this that you think applies to the job of a city alderman?
I can't see an example in city government that doesn't apply. Although solving problems in my job is technical in nature, the mechanics of problem solving would remain the same for an alderperson. You receive reports of a concern from your constituents and then evaluate city services and programs available to resolve the issue within budgetary parameters.
Why will you try to prevent the state from redeveloping the Verona Road and West Beltline Corridor? How will you do this?
I discovered at the meetings I've attended that this development was being pushed by the trucking industry. I believe one person said, "it would help trucks make the right turn at higher speed."
I have objected to this project from the beginning. Owning a building located on the West Beltline that houses my business and which would be flattened if the project moves forward has made it personal. The effects of this "improvement" would have serious impact on housing and businesses in the Allied Drive area of the district, access and egress into the Nakoma neighborhood, and bring an air quality concern to the city in general.
It would take only a consensus of the council and the mayor to stand against project. That will be the thrust of my efforts.
Note: Chris Ogden is currently setting up a campaign website at ogdenforalderman.com.