The Ann Arbor area League of Women Voters (LWV) will hold a candidate forum on Monday, Oct. 3 from 7-8 p.m. at the Community Television Network studio, 2805 South Industrial Highway, Ann Arbor. The public is invited to attend but not to participate. The forum will also be broadcast live on CTN’s CitiTV Channel 19.
Two seats on the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education are up for election on the Nov. 8, 2011 ballot, each for four-year terms. The seats are currently held by Simone Lightfoot and Andy Thomas, who are both seeking re-election. Challenging the incumbents are: Albert Howard, Ahmar Iqbal, Patrick Leonard, and Larry Murphy.
All candidates are either alums of AAPS or have children currently enrolled in the system. Advanced degrees are held by Iqbal (MPP from Harvard University), Murphy (MBA from the University of Michigan) and Thomas (MBA from the University of Michigan.)
The six have a range of occupational backgrounds. Howard is senior pastor at Ann Arbor Different Church. Iqbal is CEO at Maize & Green Capital Partners, an energy financing consultancy. Leonard is a marketing research analyst with Joyce Julius and Associates. Lightfoot is a regional urban initiatives consultant with the National Wildlife Federation, and is climate change and sustainability manager for the NAACP. Murphy is the owner of Precision Controls Co., an automotive supplier. Thomas is a retired health care administrator.
Incumbents Thomas and Lightfoot can count their current positions on the AAPS board as public office experience. In the 1990s, Lightfoot also ran unsuccessfully for Ann Arbor city council and for Washtenaw County clerk. Howard was a Republican candidate for president of the United States in 2008 and is running again in 2012. Iqbal ran unsuccessfully for ethnic vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party in 2011; he serves as fundraising chair of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote and as a board member of Pakastani Association of America. Murphy served on the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority in the 1990s and currently serves on the Scio Township zoning board of appeals. [.pdf of 2012 AAPS board candidate profile information]
In a phone call with The Chronicle, LWV president Nancy Schewe described the format of the forum. Each candidate will be invited to make a short opening statement. Then, LWV members will ask roughly five or six questions created by a LWV committee, giving each candidate a chance to answer each question in a rotating order, with no rebuttals. Candidates will then be allowed to make brief closing statements.
Schewe added that though the LWV forum does not currently allow the public to suggest questions or interact with the candidates at this time, the LWV is “thinking about developing a way to include audience participation in the future.”