State Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) easily defeated political newcomer John Milroy of Ann Arbor in the race for 53rd District state House representative. At time of print, Kolb had 77.9 percent to Milroy’s 21.9 with 72.7 percent of Washtenaw County’s precinct votes tallied.

Paul Wong
State Rep. Chris Kolb celebrates his victory at the Ann Arbor Brewing Company last night in Downtown Ann Arbor.

“It’s a great day for Democrats in Ann Arbor,” Kolb shouted while announcing Democratic winners in the Ann Arbor City Council race yesterday. Kolb made an appearance last night in Ann Arbor to celebrate the Democrats’ victory.

Hundreds of Democratic supporters gathered for a victory party at Arbor Brewing Company last night, which was adorned with Democratic signs and patriotic decorations. Even before official results came in supporters were confident of Kolb’s reelection.

“He’s been leading from the beginning,” Kolb supporter Sue Greenberg said.

Kolb has already served one term in the state House and will be able to serve until 2004 under term limits. Prior to his career in politics, Kolb worked as an environmental consultant and was an Ann Arbor city councilman.

He ran two unsuccessful bids for mayor of Ann Arbor in 1996 and 1998.

Seen as one of the most liberal members of the House, Kolb’s platform focused on environmental issues and environmental protection along with the prevention of urban sprawl.

“Urban sprawl is basically the inefficient use of land, and that’s what we’re seeing,” he said.

During his second term Kolb plans on trying to find new ways to fund programs that give local governments authority over land management, like the Purchase of Development Rights programs.

Apart from environmental protection, Kolb named stimulating economic development and improving public education and health care as his top priorities.

With regard to funing in higher education, Kolb is against tuition increases at public universities.

“The state has got to step up to not only help them cut their costs and be more efficient, but also to bring in new funds,” Kolb said earlier this month.

Milroy was not available for comment last night and was not with fellow Republicans at Cottage Inn on East Williams Street.

His campaign platform revolved around similar issues as Kolb, like lowering tuition and increasing state funding for public education.

One of the reasons for Milroy’s loss may have been his low-key campaign.

Other issues on Milroy’s platform were pro-choice policies, environmental protection, lower taxes and more flexible drug laws.

“I’m not for raising taxes,” Milroy told The Michigan Daily earlier this week. “I think we need to look at across the board being more efficient with the programs we’re running right now.”

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