Julie Grand, chair of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission, pulled petitions this week to run in the Aug. 6, 2013 Democratic primary for a seat representing Ward 3 on the Ann Arbor city council. If she files the petitions with at least 100 valid signatures by the May 14 deadline, she’ll be competing for the seat with incumbent Stephen Kunselman, a two-term councilmember.
Kunselman pulled petitions on Nov. 3, 2012 – the Saturday before last year’s Nov. 6 general election. He filed 109 valid signatures on March 8, 2013. Those signatures were verified as valid by the city clerk’s office on March 11 – the same day that Grand pulled her petitions for that race.
In a phone interview with The Chronicle in February 2013, Grand said several factors were influencing her decision. She’ll be term-limited on PAC after her current term ends in October, but wanted to remain involved with the city. [Her appointment on PAC runs through Oct. 18, 2013.] She has served on various committees and task forces over the years, primarily as a representative of PAC. Those include the Main Street/Huron River corridor task force, the golf courses advisory task force, and the senior center task force.
The timing was also good for more personal reasons. Her husband, David Grand, has now had time to transition to his job as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District Court in Ann Arbor. [He was appointed to that position in November of 2011.] And starting this fall, both of their children will be in school full-time, she said. Grand says she enjoys teaching – she’s a lecturer in health policy studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn – but doesn’t want a full-time academic job.
Grand said her tenure on PAC reflects her consensus-building leadership style, with an emphasis on finding common ground. That approach contrasts with the style of her potential opponent, she said, a reference to Kunselman. Grand also felt that she could work well with the other Ward 3 councilmember, Christopher Taylor. Taylor has served as an ex-officio member of PAC for several years. He was re-elected in November 2012 for another two-year term.
Her decision to run is not issue-driven, Grand said. Rather, she was raised with an ethic of participating in local politics, and running for city council “feels like it’s the right next step for me.”
This would be Grand’s first attempt to serve in an elected office.
As of Friday, March 15 at noon, Kunselman was the only candidate to have filed for the upcoming city council election. Three other incumbents – Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) – have pulled petitions but have not yet filed. No candidates have filed in the Ward 2 race for the seat now held by Jane Lumm, who was elected in 2011 as an independent.