Getting to know Ann Arbor City Council candidate Jack Eaton

Eaton is the incumbent city council member for Ward 4

Jack Eaton is running for re-election for the Ward 4 city council seat. (Jack Eaton)

ANN ARBOR – Jack Eaton (D) is running for re-election for the Ward 4 city council seat. He is seeking re-election for his fourth term.

He worked as an attorney representing labor unions for 26 years and has represented Ward 4 since 2013.

Eaton and his wife have lived in the Dicken neighborhood of Ward 4 since 1998. They have two grown children.

The following interview was conducted via email.

In your opinion, what are the main issues in your ward? How do you propose to solve them?

The issues in Ward 4 are shared by most Ann Arbor residents. Voters tell me they want City Council to listen to them when making decisions. The burden of property taxes and City fees is making it difficult for residents to afford to live in Ann Arbor. At the same time, residents wish that the City would do a better job of providing services and maintaining essential infrastructure.

What do you feel are the biggest issues in Ann Arbor?

The City faces significant budget challenges due to the economic recession. The pandemic makes it difficult to forecast when the economy may rebound which makes budget planning all the more difficult. The City has already identified millions of dollars in spending cuts and will likely need to make further cuts. As the recession unfolds, there will be increased need to provide additional resources for human services. That additional spending will require additional cuts to the planned spending.

The City has an affordable housing crisis. The issue of affordability extends across many levels of income from those who face homelessness, to those working in professions such as teaching and nursing to residents who are retired and living on a fixed income. As the City works to address affordability, we must remain mindful of the impact that property taxes have on renters and home owners.

Why did you decide to run again for City Council?

When I first ran for City Council, I promised to focus on improving our basic services and maintaining our essential infrastructure. I promised to represent the common-sense point of view of Ward 4 residents. I would like to continue my work on these things and I believe my years of experience with the City budget will be valuable when setting spending priorities and identifying what can be delayed or cut.

What could Ann Arbor do better?

Ann Arbor could, and needs to, do a better job of engaging the public. Ann Arbor no longer has a daily newspaper and often residents struggle to keep up with what the City is doing. I believe it is the job of City staff and City Council to be responsive to the needs and preferences of city residents. That cannot be done unless residents are well informed about the decisions the City is facing.

What do you love about Ann Arbor?

Like many residents, I came to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan. I stayed because I like the small town feel and the big town culture. The City has maintained steady growth over the years and, if properly managed, that growth can occur without changing what is good about our community.

For more information, visit his website.

All About Ann Arbor reached out to all of the city council candidates for interviews.

For more information about the Aug. 4 primary, read:

Aug. 4 primary: Who’s running in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.