Kirk Westphal has pulled petitions to run in the Aug. 6, 2013 Democratic primary for a seat representing Ward 2 on the Ann Arbor city council. According to Westphal, he took out the petitions on the afternoon of March 21.
If he files the petitions with at least 100 valid signatures by the May 14 deadline, he’ll be competing for the seat currently held by independent Jane Lumm. Lumm was elected most recently in November 2011, winning the general election against Stephen Rapundalo, who ran as a Democrat. Lumm, who served for a period on the council in the mid 1990s as a Republican, is expected to run again this year.
In a telephone interview with The Chronicle, Westphal stated: “I consider myself strongly pro-environment, pro-transit, pro-alternative energy, and a strong Democrat. I hope to represent my ward in that capacity.” Responding to a standard question, he said he’s running “because I sense we’re on the cusp of some unique opportunities and challenges. I’m hopeful my vision of the future resonates with the ward.”
Westphal is currently chair of the city’s planning commission. He was first appointed on Oct. 3, 2006, replacing James D’Amour. The city council confirmed Westphal’s reappointment to the planning commission on July 2, 2012 for another three-year term on the commission, ending July 1, 2015. Westphal also serves on the city’s environmental commission.
Westphal is married with two children, ages 5 and 7, and lives in the Glacier neighborhood of Ward 2. Chronicle readers might be familiar with that part of town through The Chronicle’s coverage of last year’s Memorial Day parade.
Westphal is founding principal of a documentary production firm, Westphal Associates. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan. For a Chronicle profile of Westphal, written in 2010, see “Know Your Kirk: Public Servant.”
The Ann Arbor city council is an 11-member body, including the mayor. Each of the city’s five wards is represented by two councilmembers, who serve two-year terms. In any given year, only one of the councilmembers is up for re-election. Not up for re-election this year in Ward 2 is Sally Petersen, who was first elected in November 2012.
Westphal is the second non-incumbent to indicate plans to run for city council this year. Earlier this month, Julie Grand – chair of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission – pulled petitions to run in the Ward 3 Democratic primary. 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 who is running for re-election.