Ann Arbor SPARK Manager Announces City Council Campaign

ANN ARBOR, MI – Jenn Cornell, a marketing director who says she has a passion for the environment, has announced that she is running for 5th District city council.

Cornell, senior vice president of marketing, communications and events for economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK, plans to take part in a potentially triple Democratic primary race in the west of the city this coming August.

She joins Carrie Rheingans, who also recently announced her campaign to seek the seat of incumbent Ali Ramlawi, D-5th Ward. Ramlawi was elected for a four-year term in 2018 and wants to be re-elected in 2022.

“I’m running for city council because I believe in Ann Arbor and its potential to be a more welcoming place for people from all backgrounds who share a common vision for a vibrant community,” Cornell said in a statement on their campaign website, A2Jenn .org.

“To me, community means neighborhoods with a variety of housing and transport options, a strong school system, excellent public services, safe roads and neighbors who respect and help one another. It means green spaces where people can come together and children can play. It means finding common ground and leading with dignity and respect. “

Cornell, who withdrew nominations from the case handler’s office in June, said she is now collecting signatures to take part in the ballot after officially announcing her campaign last week.

“I’m really excited to go door-to-door and meet more of my neighbors,” she said, adding that she was encouraged by community members who are not on a wide variety of issues, including pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure Feel adequately represented, and people who want more housing options.

Cornell said she has worked in Ann Arbor for over 20 years and has lived in town since 2017.

She was appointed by the city council earlier that year to serve on the new House of Commons council, which is exploring options for a future downtown city center and civic commons.

Originally from Belleville, she graduated from Alma College with a degree in communications and worked for a public relations firm in Ann Arbor from 2000 to 2007 before starting her own public relations firm.

She has been with SPARK since 2017 and claims to be a proud mom and small business owner, having been the co-owner of Joust Strength + Fitness for eight years.

Her work at SPARK is part of her motivation to run, she said. There are entrepreneurs looking to start or grow businesses in Ann Arbor, but the housing market is a huge deterrent, she said, citing the lack of supply.

Ann Arbor is having a housing crisis, claims Cornell, expressing its support for encouraging the development of more options for people to rent and own.

On her website, she advocates advanced thinking on how to keep the city’s charms while accommodating its growth, as well as a comprehensive transportation strategy that includes walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transportation and emerging mobility innovations.

Cornell said she serves on the board of directors of the Ecology Center and a contributor to the A2Zero initiative to make the city carbon neutral, and interested in environmental issues, including communal solar power and ways for the city to go green, and where those issues relate to social issues Aspects overlap equity. It goes back to housing and transportation, she said.

“I want our community to reflect our values,” she said, adding that there is a lack of respect in discussions at the council table, and she wants to restore dignity and have civil debates on ideas.

“We don’t always have to agree, but can we find a solution together?” She said. “I’m missing that.”

One of their potential opponents, Rheingans, is campaigning for a seat in a city administration with only homeowners as a tenant. Cornell, while a homeowner, said she supports tenants’ rights and creates more opportunities for tenants.

Whether this could be achieved by increasing housing density downtown or across the city, Cornell said she wanted to listen to residents’ requests.

“And that varies from church to church,” she said.

What to do with the Center of the City site on Fifth Avenue, where the community has been debating for over a decade whether there should be a skyscraper or a park downtown – with city voters holding the Park / Commons in 2018 Endorsed idea – Cornell said she would like more meaningful feedback from stakeholders on the block.

“The location has real challenges. Obviously everyone knows that there is no funding to activate it the way it was meant to be, ”she said, adding that this needs to be addressed and there needs to be more community input and more information. “Would it be nice to have a park downtown? Yes sir. But is that really what we need in this place? “

Ramlawi, owner of the downtown Jerusalem Garden restaurant, said earlier this month that if he vacated his seat after one term, he would not be able to accomplish what he set out to do on the council. Some of the issues Ramlawi has on his agenda since his 2018 term in office include affordable housing, affordability, road repairs, police oversight, promoting small businesses and combating the Gelman dioxane flag.

Rheingans has a campaign website at, while Ramlawi is at


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