Wednesday, Sally Hart Petersen declared her candidacy for Mayor of Ann Arbor. That makes her the fourth sitting member of City Council to announce that they are running for the seat that John Hieftje will be vacating at the end of the year.
Petersen joins Stephen Kunselman, Christopher Taylor, and Sabra Briere, all Democrats, in seeking their party's nomination for the office in August. So far, no Republicans or independents have declared their candidacies.
In her press release accompanying her announcement, Petersen said, "I believe I am the best candidate who can lead the city forward to improved economic prosperity, a more collaborative relationship with the University of Michigan, and broader civic engagement. I believe my combination of leadership experience, skills and interests in the private, public, and non-profit sectors make me uniquely qualified to lead Ann Arbor into its next era of growth and sustainability."
Petersen continued by saying that "Ann Arbor needs a Mayor who can lead the City toward greater economic prosperity while also preserving those unique characteristics that make Ann Arbor such a special place" and that she is "committed to finding avenues for shared interests with University of Michigan leadership and I believe economic growth is one of them."
While Petersen has the least time on council of all four candidates, having been elected in November 2012 after defeating incumbent Tony Derezinski in the August 2012 Democratic primary, she was able to list her accomplishments from her so far brief tenure.
"As a City Council Member, I have prioritized the “voice of our citizens”; surveying residents' views with respect to City services, hosting town hall meetings, and communicating regularly via Ward 2 e-mail updates and a Ward 2 website." She continued by noting that she had "sponsored resolutions to create the Economic Development Collaborative Taskforce, request training for Council on conflict of interest and standards of conduct policy, and to promote pedestrian safety."
Petersen pointed out that her service and experience extend beyond her current position on City Council.
"I have also been a strong advocate for those with disabilities, serving on the Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues and as a member of the University of Michigan Council on Disability Concerns." Furthermore, she cited her current service on the boards
of the Neutral Zone and the Ann Arbor Huron Athletic Booster Club.
Petersen's past experience included serving as President of the Tappan Middle School PTSO, Co-President of the Angell Elementary PTO, Board Member of the Ann Arbor Art Center and the Racquet Club of Ann Arbor, and President of the Junior League of Ann Arbor. She also worked in the private sector for CFI Group, ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, and HealthMedia.
Petersen's announcement came only five days after that of Briere, who just won re-election last November of independent Jeff Hayner to her fourth term on council.
Taylor and Kunselman both announced last year, Taylor in December and Kunselman in September, even before he won re-election to his council seat. Taylor is in the middle of his third term on council, while Kunselman has just started his fourth.
The candidacies of Petersen and Taylor will leave open seats on City Council. The Ann Arbor Chronicle reported that Democrat Kirk Westphal, who lost to independent incumbent Jane Lumm for her seat in Ward 2 has pulled petitions to run for the seat Petersen will be leaving vacant. The online paper also noted that Julie Grand, who lost to Kunselman in last August's Democratic primary, has also pulled petitions to run for the Taylor's seat.