LaBarre Enters Race for Washtenaw Co. Board

Democrat Andy LaBarre, a former aide to U.S. Congressman John Dingell, on Thursday announced plans to run for the Washtenaw County board of commissioners in 2012. He’ll seek the seat in the new District 7, which was formed during the redistricting process earlier this year. In a statement, LaBarre cited his interest in protecting human services, public safety and parkland: “Unfortunately, as Lansing continues to ask local governments to do more with ever-shrinking state funds, we are confronted with extraordinarily difficult decisions about how to deliver these vital programs just when many residents need them the most. I am running for county commission because I want to use my experience to advance the solutions that will both invest in our citizens and spur innovative economic development.”

County commissioners are elected to two-year terms, with the next election occurring in 2012. District 7, covering the eastern portion of Ann Arbor, will be one of nine districts as of 2013 – the first year that the newly configured board is in place. Three of those districts – 7, 8 and 9 – will represent Ann Arbor. (Currently there are 11 districts, including four representing Ann Arbor.) [map of new county board districts] The new District 7 includes an area that’s now represented by Democrat Barbara Bergman, who is not seeking re-election.

Labarre is vice president of government relations and administration at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce, a position he’s held since April 2011. He is also a member of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, the SOS Community Services board, and Ypsilanti’s Depot Town Community Development Corp. advisory board. As part of his announcement, LaBarre released a list of several dozen supporters, including the four current county commissioners representing Ann Arbor – Bergman, Leah Gunn, Yousef Rabhi and Conan Smith – as well as 10 current Ann Arbor city councilmembers. [.pdf list of supporters]