President of Ann Arbor District Library board announces run for City Council

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 8:26pm

Lihn Song, board president of Ann Arbor District Library, announced her bid for Ann Arbor City Council on Monday.

Lihn Song, board president of Ann Arbor District Library, announced her bid for Ann Arbor City Council on Monday. Buy this photo
File Photo/Daily

Linh Song, board president of Ann Arbor District Library, announced her bid for Ann Arbor City Council on Monday. She will run in Ward 2 as a Democrat for the seat that Councilmember Jane Lumm, an Independent, currently holds. 

Lumm has represented Ward 2 since November 2011 and has been the only non-Democrat on City Council for several years. She also served as Ward 2 Councilmember from 1993 through 1997 as a Republican. 

Lumm has said she does not plan to run again in 2020, citing her slim chances of winning with many people voting straight-ticket when filling out their ballot, particularly in a Democratic stronghold like Ann Arbor. Both Lumm and Song did not respond to multiple phone calls seeking comment.

Song was elected to the AADL board in November 2016. In 2014, she was appointed the executive director of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization that distributes funds to area public schools. Song, an alum of the University of Michigan, is currently a lecturer in the School of Social Work. 

Song will need to register 100 signatures by April 21 to get on the ballot in August. She is holding an event this Friday in hopes of gaining petition signatures. 

She has yet to publish a platform, but she described her motivation to run for office in a statement posted to her Facebook page.

“My training and instincts are to make sure people are ok and safe. My upbringing reminds me how a poor, refugee family can claim new identities and build new communities,” Song wrote. “My friends were right. More social workers need to run for office.”

She also noted her previous electoral victory when she won her seat on the Ann Arbor District Library’s Board of Trustees in 2016. 

“My term ends this year and I'm committed to fulfilling my obligations as Board President,” Song wrote. “However, I’m once again called by community members to serve, this time for a different institution. I’ve pulled petitions so that I can be on this November’s ballot as a Democratic candidate for Ann Arbor’s City Council. The meetings are longer but the goals are the same when it comes to serving the public good.”

In 2018, Song protested a proposed amendment to the city charter to build a downtown park, instead advocating for the lot to be sold to Chicago developer Core Spaces to build a high-rise apartment building. 

Song told MLive she thought the proposal was fraught.

“Designating the majority of the block in perpetuity as parkland, without the formal planning process, funding or public engagement that any other park or development would undergo, significantly limits future options for the downtown library and downtown area,” Song said.

Song is one of many community members newly running for City Council seats. Zingerman’s Bakehouse baker Dan Michniewicz declared his candidacy for Ward 5 on Monday, running as a democratic socialist. Lisa Disch, political science professor at the University, is running in Ward 1. Former MLive journalist Jen Eyer is running in Ward 4 and Erica Briggs is running in Ward 5. 

Daily staff reporters Emma Ruberg and Julia Rubin can be reached at eruberg@umich.edu and julrubin@umich.edu