ANN ARBOR - Graydon Krapohl (D) is running for re-election for the Ward 4 city council seat. He is seeking a third term as a council member.
He has lived in Ann Arbor for 12 years. He spent 30 years in the Marine Corps -- both active duty and reserve -- and has worked for various national consulting firms in the private sector.
He is married with a daughter.
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?
Protecting Our Neighborhoods: The people of Ann Arbor -- and the neighborhoods where we live -- are the backbone of our community. I will continue to advocate for the affordability and long-term viability of our neighborhoods. I believe we have to foster programs that support our neighborhoods while also investing in our parks, playgrounds, and other infrastructure necessary for the continued improvement of our overall daily quality of life.
Quality Infrastructure and Services: Quality roads, water, sewer, and other services are critical in the daily lives of our residents. We must continue to invest in our local infrastructure to meet our current as well as future needs to ensure our community is safe and continues to prosper now and well into the future. For example, in terms of our roads, over the past four years, we’ve increased annual funding by $4M+ and implemented a new roads plan. We're investing more money to fix our roads. To achieve our goal of 80% of our roads rating at "Good to Excellent" by 2025, we'll shift funding to local streets, update our techniques, and expand preventative treatments.
What do you feel are the biggest issues in Ann Arbor?
All of the things that make Ann Arbor a great place to live and work have also contributed to making it unattainable for many in our community to live, particularly working families and those in the service industry, teachers, tradespeople, artists, and retirees. In 2015, I voted to adopt our Affordable Housing Needs Assessment that highlighted the connection between the lack of housing affordability and its direct impact on equity, diversity, economic growth and increased congestion.
We need to better use publicly owned land, like the Y-Lot, to turn dollars into housing, for everyone. A community that excludes those who enrich it is not the community that I think we want to be. We have secured about $13 million of new dollars for housing over the next 8 years. Ann Arbor is too expensive and we're running out of time to take action. Failing to deal with this issue will forever change the character and nature of Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor is a great place to live for many of its residents – but not for all of them. We need to continue efforts and take action to help keep Ann Arbor a place people want to live and work, by ensuring all residents have confidence in our local government; and in keeping Ann Arbor a welcoming community to all.
Ann Arbor is in general a safe and well-policed community. Despite how well the police and justice system works, there are parts of our community that do not share this view. True or not, if there is a perception of unequal treatment, that alone makes it an issue that needs to be addressed in a positive and proactive manner.
Regrettably, most people’s interaction with police and the justice system often happens as the result of experiencing the worst day of their lives, often when they are in crisis. During these times and during all interactions, we need to ensure that our law enforcement and legal systems treat all residents equally in and out of crisis. There needs to be a means to listen to concerns about trust in the criminal justice process and then work to bridge those gaps and build more inclusive communities.
What do you love about Ann Arbor?
The wonderful people that are our neighbors, that make up the neighborhoods, and are the heart and soul of city. What is great about Ann Arbor are the people.
What could Ann Arbor do better?
I think something we need to do better as a community is how to communicate better. How to improve communication between the City and the residents. How to better provide accurate and factual information in the current environment of electronic news papers, social media and other new and developing technologies.
Why did you decide to run again for City Council?
I am running because I believe in the importance of public service, improving my community and helping people. I believe my broad and diverse education and background makes me a uniquely and highly qualified candidate. I bring a different perspective to council that draws on both my personal and professional experience in representing the residents of the 4th Ward.
For me, my service in the Marines has been a central factor in guiding both my personal and professional life as it has shaped my approach to not only my personal leadership style but also in my role as a public servant. Through my service, I learned early that integrity is the cornerstone of character; that duty, honor, courage, and commitment are paramount for public service, and that respect and teamwork are essential for success. I live and bring these values with me in my daily life and in my role as a public servant.
If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Describe what you think it means to be an Ann Arborite.
What makes Ann Arbor such a unique place is everyone’s willingness to reach out and connect to others. The pride people take in creating, building and maintaining the sense of community that resonates throughout the city. Being an Ann Arborite is being a good neighbor to those around you and in the community in where you live.
For more information about the upcoming election, including polling place locations and voter tips, read: What you need to know ahead of Ann Arbor's Aug. 7 primary.
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