Voters in the City of Fitchburg’s 3rd Aldermanic District will have a choice to make between an incumbent running for their first full term, and a newcomer in April.
Incumbent Shannon Strassman and newcomer Dave Carlson will vie for the District 3, Seat 6 spot on April 7. This will be Strassman’s first time running for the seat in a general election – she was appointed to fill the District 3 seat last August after former Ald. Dan Carpenter resigned when he moved out of the district.
This will be Fitchburg’s first election in which only half of the Common Council seats are up for election at one time. The seats up for election in 2020 all were one-year terms that will become two-year terms starting in April.
District 3 covers the city between Fish Hatchery and Syene Roads to the northern border with Madison and south to Irish Lane.
Both Carlson and Strassman told the Star they care about responsible development throughout the city, but they disagree on how the comprehensive plan update was handled. Strassman wrote that she felt the update was done well and the city didn’t need to reinvent the wheel with the update, while Carlson felt the self-imposed deadline didn’t allow for enough public input.
The Fitchburg Star interviewed both candidates, listed below in alphabetical order, for the seat this month and had them fill out questionnaires regarding their thoughts on the city.
Carlson said he’s running for council because he sees it as a way to give back and be a part of something larger than himself.
A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Carlson has lived in Fitchburg since 2016 and served for a year on the Plan Commission. He said those he worked with during that time encouraged him to consider running for another elected office.
“I don’t have a personal agenda, and in fact, I think the most important thing a person can bring to council are a set of abilities and attitudes,” he said. “I think over the years, I’ve demonstrated it professionally, and in volunteer roles, that I have the temperament and talents.”
Carlson said the city needs to do responsible planning that considers its long-term future, as well as giving more attention to public safety.
He said he believes the city needs expanded law enforcement to reduce personal and property crimes.
“While Fitchburg is still a safe place, there’s more we can do to make people feel more secure,” Carlson said. “There’s a lot that the city can do.”
Strassman said in a questionnaire response to the Star that she’s running for her seat because she cares about the future of the city.
An emergency room technician at St. Mary’s Hospital, Strassman has lived in the city for the past 33 years and serves on the Public Safety and Human Services committee, Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Community and Economic Development Authority.
“As a single mother, I believe social responsibility is important as our city grows,” Strassman wrote. “I feel strongly that the values and voices of all citizens must be heard so future generations can enjoy all Fitchburg has to offer.”
She said some of the issues facing both her district and the city include density in housing developments and taxes, as well as transparency within city government, public safety and traffic concerns.
Part of solving the density issue involves the city developing in ways that are responsible and sustainable, Strassman wrote, but also allow for communication with the residents.
“We must evaluate development projects and make sure they align with the goals of the community,” she wrote.