On Friday, Ann Arbor City Council member Christopher Taylor (D – Ward 3) filed petitions to run for mayor in the 2014 election, making him the second candidate to formally enter the race.

Taylor has served on the city council for three terms since his 2008 primary win over now fellow council member Stephen Kunselman (D – Ward 3), who announced his own mayoral bid in September. Since Mayor John Hieftje (D) decided not to run for office again, the Ward 3 council members are currently the only contenders for the city’s top job.

Taylor has lived in Ann Arbor for more than 25 years — first moving to the city for his undergraduate degree from the University. He received a B.A. in English, a B.M.A. in Vocal Performance, an M.A. in American History and a J.D., which he received cum laude. During his time at the University, Taylor served as the editor in chief of the Michigan Law Review and president of a student housing cooperative with more than 500 students.

Since being elected to the city council, Taylor has worked to save Mack Pool and the Ann Arbor Senior Center, and has negotiated to bring millions of dollars into the city through a new parking agreement. He called for pension reform and improvement of retiree healthcare benefits.

He has also focused on quality of life issues, such as expanding the city’s noise ordinance, improving crosswalk safety, fighting to purge downtown of graffiti and strengthening enforcement options for tenant littering and solid waste violations.

“One of the things I enjoy most is helping residents with everyday problems, like ‘if there’s a tree down in my yard, can you help me with it,’” Taylor said.

Taylor currently works as an attorney in the Ann Arbor firm of Hooper Hathaway, P.C., representing Fortune 500 companies and local start-ups with an emphasis on corporate and intellectual property law. He lives with his wife, Eva Rosenwald, and two children in the Burns Park neighborhood.

Taylor said his family is “very enthusiastic” about his decision to run for mayor and that they have been encouraging him to run. His friends and colleagues are “universally supportive” of his decision, including Hieftje.

Though not formally endorsing Taylor, Hieftje told the Ann Arbor Newsthat he would make a “fine mayor.”

“The mayor and I work together on a number of issues,” Taylor said. “He, I believe, has spoken very highly of me in the past, and I look forward to making good on that.”

Taylor and Kunselman have differed in opinion over changing the pedestrian ordinance. Taylor supports keeping the language of the ordinance as it is, while Kunselman is concerned about the danger of pedestrians stepping in front of a car’s blind spot.

Taylor said the two have known each other for a number of years and express no hostility toward each other in the upcoming campaign. Taylor added that Kunselman has a “different approach to issues and problems” than he does.

Kunselman also said the two candidates “come from different perspectives,” as they represent distinct parts of the ward and come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. He said their differences in opinion “create the opportunities for great debate within the community of Ann Arbor.”

“I think it’s really good to have competition in the campaign cycles to give voters the opportunities to have choices,” he said. “Councilman Taylor and I go back a few years. We have great love for our community and we have different ways of thinking about what’s the best opportunities it takes for achieving our goals.”

A press release announcing Taylor’s candidacy included an endorsement from former city council member Carsten Hohnke (D – Ward 5).

“He always approaches the complex issues that come before Council by reaching out for broad input and engaging in careful analysis,” Hohnke said. “His competence, collegiality and clear, balanced vision of a thriving community will serve Ann Arbor exceptionally well.”

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