Two of the three candidates for Ypsilanti mayor – Democrats Amanda Edmonds and Peter Murdock – spoke to an audience of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber members on June 26, describing their vision for the city and answering questions.
Murdock, who currently serves on the Ypsilanti city council and was mayor of that city in the 1980s, talked about how Ypsilanti is still struggling with the “economic realities” of the Great Recession. The city needs more financial stability, and to help achieve that goal he supports efforts at collaboration – like Ypsilanti’s membership in the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. He also talked about the need to quickly deal with eliminating debt on the city-owned Water Street property, which he called the “elephant in the room.”
Responding to questions from the audience, Murdock pointed to efforts to improve public safety through collaboration between the city, Eastern Michigan University, and the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office. “We’ll have more to say about that shortly, in terms of what we’re developing,” he said.
Edmonds is founder and executive director of the nonprofit Growing Hope, and serves as chair of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority board. She described her vision for the city as one where residents and businesses thrive, not just survive. The mayor is the city’s chief ambassador, she said, setting the tone and bringing energy that attracts, retains and excites people to live, work, visit and play in Ypsilanti.
Her role as mayor would also entail building positive relationships with Ypsilanti’s neighbors, she said: “We have to put past differences behind us, and stop blaming, and find the common good.” Edmonds also talked about the importance of building a leadership “pipeline” through nominations to city boards and commissions, giving citizens an opportunity to serve and lead.
Responding to audience questions, Edmonds stressed the importance of public safety, but said the city needs to think more broadly about that issue – it’s not just about adding more police officers. Community involvement, community policing, and strong neighborhood associations are also important, addressing problems in a pro-active way. “We need to really think upstream about a lot of things, including public safety, to think about where those problems are, and how we bring the community together to solve them.”
This report includes written summaries of the Ypsilanti candidates’ responses, as well as audio clips from The Chronicle’s live broadcast of the event. The third candidate for Ypsilanti mayor, Democrat Tyrone Bridges, was not able to attend.
There are no Republicans running for mayor in Ypsilanti. The deadline for independent candidates to file petitions for the Nov. 4 election is July 17.
The June 26 forum also included the four mayoral candidates from Ann Arbor: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3). Their remarks are covered in a separate article.
The June 26 event was held at the Ann Arbor Regent Hotel and moderated by chamber president Diane Keller, with audience questions moderated by Andy LaBarre, the chamber’s vice president of government affairs and administration. LaBarre also serves in elected office as a Washtenaw County commissioner. The event was followed by a mixer for chamber members and other candidates for local, state and federal offices.