Earlier this month, the local League of Women Voters hosted forums for candidates from each ward with a contested Democratic primary election for Ann Arbor city council. That included Ward 2, where incumbent Stephen Rapundalo and challenger Tim Hull are both seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination. The primary elections this year fall on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Because no Republican challenger filed by the May deadline, the winner of the Ward 2 Democratic primary will likely be the Ward 2 representative to the city council. Some uncertainty surrounds that conclusion, however, because the filing deadline for non-partisan, independent candidates is not until Aug. 15. And Ward 2 has a recent election history that includes write-in candidate Ed Amonsen’s effort in the 2007 general election, which nearly won him a seat on the council. Amonsen’s write-in campaign earned him 790 votes (48.4%) to Rapundalo’s 843.
In their opening and closing statements, the candidates reprised the themes they’d introduced at a previous forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party in June. Rapundalo stressed his experience and leadership as essential in trying economic times to find solutions in the area of cost containment and “revenue restructuring.” Rapundalo is president and CEO of MichBio, a biosciences industry trade association. First elected in 2005, Rapundalo is seeking a fourth two-year term on the city council.
For his part, Hull focused on budgeting that is based on community needs, not politics, and stressed that he would protect those things that make Ann Arbor unique. Hull is a programmer at the University of Michigan’s Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. He serves as a member of the city’s taxicab board.
The two candidates dealt with the full range of topics covered by LWV questions – from public safety cuts to their thoughts on the hiring of the new city administrator.
The LWV forum was filmed at the Community Television Network studios on South Industrial Highway. After the break, The Chronicle presents paraphrases of questions posed to the candidates and their responses to them, as well as some highlights from the candidates’ remarks broken down in a bit more detail.