Sticking to his original platform of improving basic services and quality of life in Ann Arbor, Mayor Christopher Taylor (D–Ann Arbor) formally kicked off his re-election campaign at a fundraising party in the Arbor Brewing Company Tuesday. This is his second time running for mayor, but first time doing so uncontested.
Taylor previously represented Ann Arbor’s 3rd Ward as a City Councilmember for three terms before being elected mayor amid a crowded ballot in 2014. The crowded race followed the retirement of Taylor’s longtime predecessor John Hieftje, who was also at the party on Tuesday.
“I think what we did last time around has been right, and my plan for next term is to do it again, “ Taylor said, adding he is proud of improvements made in sustainability and road and stormwater infrastructure during his two-year term as mayor. “We as a city are going in the right direction.”
Taylor also emphasized the need to improve the supply of affordable housing, saying if the city fails to do so its economic diversity and the quality of life will be threatened.
“This is something that’s good for the people in need of affordable housing, and it’s good for people who don’t need affordable housing,” Taylor said. “Economically diverse communities are far better off than other communities.”
Many of Taylor's City Council colleagues were present — as well as Hieftje — and spoke favorably of his leadership and ability to accommodate conflicting opinions on City Council and from the public.
“One thing about (Ann Arbor) is that we’re doing way, way better than almost any other (city),” Hieftje said as he introduced Taylor. “It isn’t an easy job.”
Many of the local residents at the event said though they may not necessarily agree with Taylor on every issue, they trust his character to best represent the city and accommodate its conflicting viewpoints.
Ann Arbor resident Scott Trudeau said he disagrees with the mayor on some issues but looks favorably on Taylor’s leadership.
“I think in general he’s done a good job of making his decisions, balancing the concerns, organizing the council and overall representing the city,” Trudeau said.
He added that he appreciates Taylor’s focus on affordable housing, saying he thought housing costs in the city must be addressed to preserve the city’s character.
“If housing continues to become unaffordable, we’re going to have a certain class of relatively well-off people,” Trudeau said. “Ann Arbor’s character has been a lot funkier and more interesting, and that requires more people of more socioeconomic statuses.”
Kathy Griswold, a longtime resident of Ann Arbor also in attendance, said she has been long critical of the city administration on pedestrian safety, including during Taylor’s time as mayor. However, she said she thought the continuation of Taylor’s leadership is necessary for substantive change to be made in the city.
“I am not at all satisfied with the (city) government … a lot of our processes are broken,” Griswold said. “I can further my agenda of pedestrian safety and good governance by working through Taylor’s organization more easily than trying to develop another one.”