ANN ARBOR - Jack Eaton (D) is running for mayor of Ann Arbor. He is currently serving his third term as city council member for Ward 4.
He has lived in Ann Arbor for 33 years. A retired attorney with degrees from University of Michigan and Wayne State University, he is married with two adult children.
The following interview was conducted via email.
What do you feel are the biggest issues in Ann Arbor?
Many of the challenges Ann Arbor faces are problems of success. Because we have a hot economy, people want to live here, work here, start businesses and build new developments. How we chose to grow, how we maintain our infrastructure, how we choose to address congestion and how we work to ensure that Ann Arbor remains affordable to its residents are among our biggest challenges.
What do you love about Ann Arbor?
I love that Ann Arbor is small midwestern town that has incredible, large-city cultural and academic opportunities. I love that our town is a welcoming community with a world-class university that draws people of many backgrounds and lands to live, work and study here. I love that Ann Arbor residents are environmentally aware and wish to address environmental challenges.
What could Ann Arbor do better?
The City government could do a better job of establishing spending priorities. For example, the City fails to maintain its essential infrastructure such as streets and sewers. The failure to maintain city streets damages vehicles and causes repair expense for residents and businesses. The failure to maintain sewers has resulted in raw sewage spills into the Huron River.
What have you enjoyed the most while serving as an elected official?
I have enjoyed working with Council colleagues and residents to address policy issues and community concerns. For example, I have worked with 1st Ward Council Member Sumi Kailasapathy and City residents to create a police oversight commission that will be independent and empowered. Another example is my work with a neighborhood to address concerns about a development that had been stopped when the developer's loan defaulted.
Why did you decide to run for mayor?
I decided to run for mayor because I believe I can provide the leadership the City needs as it faces challenges as basic as repairing its streets, as essential as restore our role as an environmental leader, as necessary as maintaining the quality of our neighborhoods and as fundamental as maintaining strong budget discipline. Many of the challenges the City face are the result of the lack of that leadership in the last decade.
If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Describe what you think it means to be an Ann Arborite.
Being an Ann Arborite isn’t confined to a single set of attributes. What is wonderful about Ann Arbor is the diverse backgrounds and place of origin of its residents. The variety of experience, interests and education of our residents enrich the quality of our lives. It is why we, as a city, must continue to be a welcoming community.
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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