On the evening of July 13, the four Democratic candidates for the District 11 seat on the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, as well as one candidate for District 10, gathered at the studios of Community Television Network for a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.
There are 11 seats on the county board, divided by geographic region – including four districts representing Ann Arbor. Commissioners are elected to two-year terms. This year, Democratic incumbents in two of Ann Arbor’s districts – Leah Gunn of District 9 and Barbara Bergman of District 8 – are unopposed in the primary, though they will face Republican challengers in November.
Incumbent Conan Smith of District 10, which covers the west and northwest portions of Ann Arbor, faces Danielle Mack in the Democratic primary. She did not attend the forum, citing a scheduling conflict. The winner of that primary will be unopposed in November.
In District 11, incumbent Jeff Irwin – who’s been on the board for a decade – isn’t seeking re-election, but is instead running for state representative in District 53. [See Chronicle coverage: "Michigan Dems Primary: House 53rd District"] Four Democrats are competing in the primary to replace Irwin: LuAnne Bullington, Mike Fried, Yousef Rabhi and Alice Ralph. The winner of the Aug. 3 primary will face Republican Joe Baublis in November. District 11 covers parts of central and eastern Ann Arbor. [See the Washtenaw County election website for a complete list of county commissioner candidates.]
Questions posed by the moderator, Nancy Schewe, had been formulated by a LWV-AAA committee, with input solicited from the community. They covered a range of topics, from funding for the county jail and police services contracts to expansion of the road commission and the candidates’ views on mass transit. Candidates were each given one minute to respond. This summary of candidate responses is presented in the order in which they spoke at the hour-long forum.