Correction: The article has been updated to include Jonathan Hoard, who will face Jenn Cornell in the Ward 5 Ann Arbor City Council election. A previous version of this article stated that Cornell would run unopposed.
The Michigan Daily has prepared an election guide to help inform Ann Arbor voters on what will be on the ballot for the 2022 Midterm Election on Nov. 8. Voters will be electing new candidates for Ann Arbor Mayor and City Council, Judge of Circuit Court, School District Board Member, District Library Board Member and County Commissioner. A ballot initiative on the Community Climate Action Millage will also be up for election this November in Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor Mayor:
Incumbent Mayor Christopher Taylor will face off against Independent opponent Eric Lipson. Taylor has served as Ann Arbor’s mayor since 2014 and is seeking his second reelection bill following Ann Arbor City Council’s decision to extend the mayoral term to four years in 2018.
In addition to his duties as mayor, Taylor is a local corporate and commercial attorney practicing at Ann Arbor-based law firm Hooper Hathaway. Taylor’s tenure as Mayor has centered around pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, high-density housing and Ann Arbor’s A2Zero goal. If elected, Taylor’s third term will focus on enhancing quality of life and basic services such as public safety, road conditions and equitable living.
Lipson announced his campaign in September after the primary elections in which Taylor won the Democratic against former Ward 1 Councilmember Anne Bannister. While Lipson has never served as an elected public official, he has previously advocated for environmental causes at the state and local levels.
Lipson is an attorney and has worked at several non-profit organizations. Lipson’s background in environmental justice and sustainability is echoed in his platform’s goals to promote A2Zero and address other Ann Arbor environmental concerns.
Lipson’s platform also focuses on advancing affordable housing and living for all income levels and advocates for continued support of current environmental initiatives. In addition to Lipson’s goal to improve city services, he has proposed nonpartisan city elections, a proposal Mayor Taylor has previously vetoed twice on City Council.
Ann Arbor City Council
All of the city council members will run unopposed with the exception of Ward 5 where Jenn Cornell will face Jonathan Hoard.
Ward 1: Cynthia Harrison, a lifelong resident of Ann Arbor and program manager at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, is running uncontested for a spot alongside current Councilmember Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1, following the election.
Harrison’s platform focuses heavily on mental health-driven criminal legal reform, accessible transportation and the development of affordable housing. If elected, Harrison will be the first Black woman to serve on city council in over 15 years.
During the August primaries, Harrison defeated Angeline Smith with 71% of the vote.
Ward 2: Chris Watson, born and raised in Ann Arbor, is running uncontested following outgoing Councilmember Kathy Griswold’s, D-Ward 2, decision to step down after Watson’s campaign announcement. Following the election, he will serve beside Councilmember Linh Song, D-Ward 2.
Watson ran uncontested in the primary election in August and has centered his platform on uplifting the diverse voices in Ann Arbor’s community. Outside of the election, Watson is a senior bibliographic specialist at the American Mathematical Society. Watson’s platform prioritizes sustainable development in Ann Arbor and includes supporting the city’s residents and the environment.
Ward 3: Ayesha Ghazi Edwin, Ann Arbor resident and Deputy Director of Detroit Disability Power, ran uncontested in the August primaries and will serve alongside current Councilmember Travis Radina, D-Ward 3 following the election. Outgoing Councilmember Julie Grand, D-Ward 3, did not seek re-election.
Ghazi Edwin currently serves as an Ann Arbor Human Rights Commissioner. In 2020, Ghazi Edwin was selected by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to be the statewide Chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission. Ghazi Edwin’s platform focuses on her commitment to city services and transparency in the city government.
Ward 4: Dharma Akmon, Ann Arbor resident, research scientist and the director of product management at the University of Michigan’s Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, will run uncontested in the November election. Akmon won the democratic primary election against incumbent Councilmember Elizabeth Nelson, D-Ward 4, and Democrat candidate Mozhgan Savabieasfahani. Following the election, Akmon will serve alongside current Councilmember Jen Eyer, D-Ward 4.
Akmon currently serves as the vice president of the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees following her election in 2019. Akmon’s campaign emphasizes her commitment to the A2Zero plan and includes support for reduced reliance on DTE for the city’s electrical power.
Jonathan Hoard is the only non-party-affiliated candidate running for a city council position this fall. Hoard will face Jenn Cornell in the only contested City Council election this November.
Hoard is a documentary producer, and Ann Arbor resident who hopes his ability to tell people’s stories transcends into his position as a councilmember. According to his platform, Hoard hopes to focus on reducing the size of local government and the number of projects taken on by the city, instead hoping to strengthen the existing structures. Additionally, Hoard is campaigning for a more transparent local government that will prioritize downtown Ann Arbor as a community hub.
Jenn Cornell, Ann Arbor resident and communications professional, will vy for the Ward 5 seat this November following her victory over incumbent Councilmember Ali Ramlawi, D-Ward 5, in the August Democratic primaries.
Cornell is currently a collaborator with the A2Zero initiative in addition to serving on Washtenaw Community College’s Women’s Council and the City of Ann Arbor’s Council of the Commons. Her campaign page listed several core values, like providing a variety of housing options, implementing an expanded transportation plan and infrastructure improvements.
Judge of Circuit Court
Marla Linderman Richelew and Arianne Elizabeth Slay are both seeking election as Ann Arbor’s Circuit Court Judge this November following Judge Archie Brown’s retirement. The circuit court position handles felony criminal cases and any civil cases with claims of more than $25,000. The position entails a six-year term on Michigan’s 22nd Circuit Court.
Richelew currently serves as a Representative Member for the 22nd Circuit Court and is a member of the County Prosecutor’s Corporate Crimes Taskforce. She is also the executive director for the Washtenaw Association for Justice. According to Richlew’s platform, the pillars for her campaign are “Fair, Impartial, and Compassionate.”
Richelew has been endorsed by University regents Michael Behm (D), Mark Bernstein (D) and Jordan Acker (D).
Slay is currently a Deputy Ann Arbor City Attorney. Her campaign focuses on justice reform, civil litigation and her work with the Independent Police Oversight Commission. According to her platform, Slay has practiced in every Washtenaw County district court, including Michigan’s 22nd Circuit Court. Slay’s priorities include transparency, restorative justice in the courtroom, civil justice reform, criminal justice reform and responsible court administration.
School District Board Member
Thirteen Ann Arbor residents are campaigning for four open seats on the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education (AAPS) election this November. The non-partisan position runs on four-year terms and will be on the ballot for all Ann Arbor residents, regardless of their ward or district of residence.
Susan Baskett is the only incumbent candidate this election cycle and has served on the school board since 2003. After growing up in Ann Arbor and attending the University of Michigan and Duke University, she worked in marketing at General Motors. Currently, Baskett is the Vice President of the AAPS School Board and works as an assistant teacher at Head Start.
Kai S. Cortina is an Ann Arbor resident and AAPS parent in addition to teaching at the University’s School of Education. Cortina was critical of AAPS’ decision to keep AAPS virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing concerns about the disruption of student learning. Cortina is campaigning with Lena Kauffman.
Kauffman, AAPS parent, is also passionate about the pandemic’s school closures and has called virtual learning “a crutch that the district immediately leans on whenever it is facing challenges.” Both Kauffman and Cortina are campaigning for increased transparency and communication from the board.
Jacinda Townsend Gides, AAPS parent and faculty member at the University of Michigan, has previously served on a district school board in Southern Indiana. Townsend Gides’ campaign prioritizes developing equity between all of the schools within the district and working on teacher retention rates in the district.
Jamila James, a nurse and AAPS parent, is running with hopes to improve AAPS’ focus on students who are not pursuing college after graduation. James wants to support these alternative routes by advocating for the teaching of “soft skills and trades.”
Jeremy Lapham, Ann Arbor resident and school-based nurse practitioner, is the only candidate who works directly with AAPS students. Lapham’s platform prioritizes in-depth research into the policies and issues within the board’s jurisdiction. Additionally, Lapham said he wants to close the gaps in educational disparities created by COVID-19 and systematic inequalities.
Paulette Metoyer is also running for district school board election. No public platform has been found for Metoyer.
Rima Mohammad, Ann Arbor resident and faculty member at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, is running with the hope to improve the community centered nature of AAPS. Mohammad hopes that a focus on community will help to provide more guidance and support for students of color at AAPS.
Susan Ward Schmidt, retired teacher and Ann Arbor resident, is also running for a spot on the school board. Schmidt has been a public supporter for Michigan dyslexia laws which aim to increase funding and awareness for screening and intervention for people with dyslexia. Schmidt has previously served on the East Lansing School Board.
Barry Schumer is also running for district school board election. No public platform has been found for Schumer.
Andrew Spencer, health-care researcher, is running for a position on the school board in hopes of reducing the number of days students miss school and optimizing opportunities created by the 2019 bond. Additionally, Spencer is prioritizing a return to providing before and after school care to the district.
Leslie Wilkins, Ann Arbor resident and marketing manager for Part D Advisors, Inc, is running for a position on the school board. Her platform centers on the notion that students need equity, emotional enrichment and excellent educators to thrive. She plans to create an equity plan, increasing access to mental health resources and support for teachers.
Alex Wood, Ann Arbor resident and postpartum doula, is running for school board and is a strong advocate for high risk families in the Ann Arbor community. Additionally, Wood is advocating for equitable opportunities for students with disabilities and is a supporter of the Equity Policy Plan.
District Library Board Member
Sara Duvall, Ann Arbor resident and recently retired AAPS District Department Chair for Secondary School Libraries and Media and Technology lead at Skyline High School, is one of six candidates fighting for three seats on the Ann Arbor District Library Board. Duvall was a 2019-2020 Fulbright Fellow and studied libraries and librarians in India. Additionally, Duvall is the curator of TedxYouth@AnnArbor.
Catherine Hadley, Adian Sova and Jim Leija are campaigning together for three seats on the district library board. The team is looking to bring advocacy, representation and insight to Ann Arbor District Library discussions, according to their platform. Hadley is a 2022 graduate of University of Michigan and was a 2021 Truman Scholar. Sova is a 2022 University of Michigan graduate and currently serves on the Human Rights Commission for Ann Arbor. Leija, the Deputy Director for Public Experience and Learning at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, has served on the board since 2014 and is seeking his third term on the board.
Sherrie A. Kossoudji, Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan School of Social work and in the Department of Economics, is seeking election to the AADL board this November. In an interview with ClickonDetroit, Kossudji said she believes her background in economics will help to foster growth and sustainability for AADL. Kossoudji does not have a public platform.
John Schaeffer is also seeking election to the board. Schaeffer has not released a public platform.
County Commissioner 8th District
State representative Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, will face Leslie Shannon, the Republican candidate. Following the redrawing of county districts in 2021, District 8 covers Ann Arbor’s downtown area.
Rabhi is looking for a return to the county board following his three terms as Ann Arbor’s state representative, which he was first elected to when he was 21.
Leslie Shannon, R, will run against Rabhi this November and has not released a public platform.
County Commissioner 9th District
Following the district’s redrawing last year, Democrat Katie Scott will face Republican Stuart Berry this November to serve on the County board.
Scott has been an ICU nurse for over ten years and is active in the Michigan Nurses Association union. Scott’s platform prioritizes government transparency, community mental health and affordable housing.
Berry does not have a public platform.
Community Climate Action Millage
Introduced by the Ann Arbor Climate Voters, the community Climate Action Millage proposes a property tax increase of up to 1 mills for Ann Arbor residents to support further movement towards Ann Arbor’s A2Zero Action Plan.
A2Zero was launched in 2019 by the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The plan addresses climate change in four sectors — energy, mobility, resource reduction and adaptation and resilience.
At the Oct. 6 City Council meeting, Mayor Christopher Taylor shared his support for the millage, citing its benefits to Ann Arbor’s long term climate goals.
“We have a multi-strategy plan in order to utilize clean, renewable energy in the city to move towards zero-waste, to improve energy efficiency, to improve cost of comfort, to improve resilience — all of course, through an unyielding lens of equity,” Taylor said. “This is the core of the A2Zero plan. And I believe that we can accomplish it if this community — and this includes student voters — pass the community climate action millage that we have on the ballot this November.”
Daily News Editor Shannon Stocking can be reached at email@example.com.