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CLOSUP hosts Ann Arbor mayoral candidates

April 18, 2014

The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) hosted the four declared candidates in Ann Arbor's mayoral race on Wednesday, April 16. The forum focused on the future of public transportation and prospects for economic development of Ann Arbor's downtown. Mayor John Hieftje, who is stepping down after 14 years in office and is a longtime lecturer at the Ford School, moderated the event.

Much of the forum focused on the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's proposal to expand public transportation service. The candidates seemed unified in their support of the expansion. Candidate and current Council Member Christopher Taylor said, "Whether you're a senior, whether you're a student, whether you're a worker without a car, whether you would never ride a bus in a million years," increased public transportation is in the community's interest.

The candidates also addressed prospects for continued economic development of Ann Arbor's downtown. Candidate Sally Hart Petersen noted that U-M economists project upwards of 12,500 jobs coming to Washtenaw County in the next three years; the question is how to attract those jobs to Ann Arbor.

Along with Peterson and Taylor, Council Members Stephen Kunselman and Sabra Briere round out the field in the Democratic primary, which will be held in August. No Republicans have declared their candidacy to date.

Ryan Stanton's MLive article, "Ann Arbor mayoral candidates share views on downtown growth and public transit," offers a fuller description of the conversation.

For more information on the ongoing research on local, state, and urban politics happening at the Ford School, visit the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.