Welcome to All Things Madison’s “Behind the Scenes with Madison’s City Council” series. Each week for seven weeks, All Things Madison will feature one of Madison’s city council members and share about their roots in Madison, what led them to run for their position, what projects they are tangibly working on to better our community, and much more. To discover which district you reside in and learn who your district’s councilmember is, please click here.
Madison City Councilman John Seifert takes pride in the city that he calls home, just like his grandfather took pride in his.
Seifert, District 7 council member, was born and raised a few hours south of Madison in Ozark, Alabama largely by his grandparents. His grandfather was a police officer who was slain in the line of duty in 1987. Seifert says that many community leaders, such as local business owners and city council members, took over as father figures after his grandfather passed, and he says that he learned a tremendous amount of work ethic from these strong men.
“Some of these people went through the Great Depression, which instilled in them a different kind of work ethic. They passed that along to me, which gave me the desire to give back one day.”
After graduating from Auburn University in 2002, Seifert moved to North Alabama after accepting an engineering job. His wife Heather took a job as an elementary teacher within Madison City Schools and is still working in the system two decades later.
When asked why Seifert chose to build a home in Madison, he says that the schools were the biggest draw. Their son was born in 2009 and currently attends Liberty Middle School.
Seifert says that he got involved with youth sports and coaching as soon as he could and has gotten to know many city leaders in Madison through these experiences.
“I actually got engaged to my wife at Palmer Park during half-time of a football game,” Seifert shares with a smile as he recalls the fond memory.
Seifert shares that as he continued to navigate various aspects of life as a Madison resident, he began seeing various issues that he wondered about being involved to fix. He began considering a run for a city council position in 2008 but says that the timing simply wasn’t right.
“By 2014, I was really complaining about things,” he says. “As a city, we were investing so much into kids’ academics, but what about other activities they do?”
Seifert continued to share that he is passionate about youth sports and activities because children learn so much on those fields, and he wanted to see areas like Palmer Park prioritized and drastically improved.
“I thought to myself that I could either be a whiner or I could do something about these things, so I called my mentor from when I was growing up, and he encouraged me to run for the city council.”
Seifert officially announced his run for the District 7 seat in January 2016.
“The main thing I campaigned about were the parks, including all of the ones that aren’t in my district,” shared Seifert. “As I campaigned and walked neighborhoods talking with people, I learned that these areas were really important to a lot of other people too.”
Seifert was also laser-focused on making sure things such as traffic flow and community walkability were improved and continue to be improved.
“I’ve helped work on road projects such as the Hughes Road project and Wall Triana expansion. Many people don’t know that our sidewalks are all improved in segments, so we’re continually working to extend those and make them better too.”
Seifert elaborated that the city currently has 10-12 sidewalk projects that are being completed in segments.
As far as parks go, Seifert is thrilled to see the Palmer Park expansion on Palmer Road near completion. This addition includes four soccer fields and tremendous lighting, and Seifert says that it’s surely going to relieve some of the pressure on Palmer Park so that they can continue moving on to improving another phase. Reworking current entrance/exit areas and adding another entrance is on his to-do list.
Seifert says that Palmer Park improvements and additions will total $12-$15 million by the time they are complete, which he predicts won’t be done in their entirety for another 10 years or so.
Madison on Track 2045, the city’s new comprehensive plan, is one of the biggest topics on the table for city council members at the present day.
“Everyone is coming to the table right now to give their input and thoughts about how we’re going to move this city forward.”
Seifert encourages community members to get involved and pay attention to the Madison on Track 2045 process because local government is important.
“We want to hear your issues and your complaints; We really do!” He says. “This is your city, and it’s your right to voice your opinions.”
Seifert says this the current city council members all bring something different to the table, which has challenged each of them to think a bit differently about various city-related issues.
“Like iron sharpens irons,” says Seifert, “we challenge each other and have a lot of potential as a team.”
He says that the community should be excited about what is to come because he expects really big things for our city in the next few years.
In Seifert’s spare time, he enjoys volunteering with the youth at Asbury United Methodist Church and being involved with all things related to his son.
Quick Links for John Seifert II, District 7
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