Home Madison Alder, former Council president Shiva Bidar will not seek re-election

Alder, former Council president Shiva Bidar will not seek re-election


Madison Alder Shiva Bidar, who has represented the Near West Side on the Common Council since 2009, announced today that she will not seek re-election when her term expires in April.

Bidar served two terms as president of the Council, in 2013-14 and 2019-20.

“I feel that it’s important to transition after this many years,” she said in an exclusive interview with Madison365. “I think from many different perspectives it’s time to allow somebody else to take this responsibility.”

Bidar also cited her new job as a factor in her decision; she was recently promoted to become the first-ever vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at UW Health, where she has worked for more than 20 years. 

Often considered a potential candidate for mayor or other position, Bidar hasn’t ruled out a return to elective office.

“If there’s anything we’ve learned in COVID times is that it’s important to be safe, focus on the present time and make a difference, in any way that one can. That’s what I’m doing,” she said.

Bidar said her successor should be ready to focus on day-to-day issues like traffic, transportation and the neighborhood’s relationship with the University of Wisconsin — “What goes on at Camp Randall really impacts the district,” she said — while also keeping an eye on larger issues.

“I think somebody who has really deep commitments to social justice and racial equity is really important,” she said. “We have a district that is very fortunate in many ways, as far as its socioeconomic makeup. So, I think it’s incumbent on our district and the representative of this district to really be committed to making what life looks like in District Five a reality for everybody else in Madison.”

That focus is important beyond district five, she said.

“I think it’s essential for anybody running for elected office to really be very focused on racial equity and social justice, and really have a huge commitment to get work done around those issues,” Bidar said. “Not only my district, but I would say any elected official running for any seats in Dane County should be really focused on that. I would want the person that takes my seat to also be somebody that really focuses (on) the commitment to racial equity and social justice. That’s why I ran 12 years ago. I know everybody talks about those issues today, but I ran on those issues 12 years ago.”

Looking back over her six terms, Bidar said she’s especially proud of her work on police reform. She served on the committee that recommended — among many other reforms — the creation of a civilian oversight board for the Madison Police Department, which was approved by the Common Council in September.

“That work has been … for me, the most critical and deepest work in hopefully setting up structures that really change the oversight of policing,” she said.

Bidar has also made immigration policy a centerpiece of her time in office.

“The other work that’s been really critical for me is to be a voice and represent the immigrant community and Latinx undocumented community, by bringing forth a number of different resolutions to ensure that we were a city that protected our undocumented immigrants,” she said. “Both from the law enforcement perspective, not collaborating with ICE, but also we started a contribution of $100,000 towards the immigration fund that does representation of immigrants in the deportation system. All of that body of work that’s around equity, making sure our city has clear stance around being a welcoming city for immigrants and specifically for undocumented immigrants.”

Potential candidates for any Common Council seats can begin circulating petitions for nomination signatures tomorrow. All paperwork to be on the ballot in the April election are due on January 5. If more than two candidates file the necessary signatures, a primary will be held February 16. The general election will take place on April 6. Forms and additional information are available on the Madison City Clerk’s website.