Ann Arbor tenant seeks council seat for all homeowners

ANN ARBOR, MI – With no tenants on the 11-member Ann Arbor City Council, Carrie Rheingans, a 5th ward resident, is running for office hoping to change that.

Rheingans, a health policy expert and lecturer at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, has announced her campaign to attract the 5th incumbent.

She counted herself among the majority of townspeople who rented and decided to run after years of trying and failing to get into the expensive Ann Arbor housing market, she said.

“I have spent the last two decades of my personal activism and professional career addressing health inequalities, many of which stem from social and economic policies related to housing, community security, and education at the local, state, and national levels.” she said in a statement. “I was frustrated with my experience trying to break into the Ann Arbor housing market and, like so many schemes in our country, as I dug deeper I saw the stark and unfair differences in the ability to participate between races and economic groups.”

She wants to use her public policy expertise to “bring in more of my neighbors as Ann Arbor progresses,” she said.

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Rheingans, who is now collecting signatures to get on the ballot and has a campaign team made up of UM students, said more than half of their signatures so far have come from tenants, and that is by design.

She starts her campaign early because it means more fundraising time, she said.

“I am not wealthy or come from a wealthy family, and we assume that most of our donations are fairly small citizens, tenants, and especially students, about issues that are important to them and we hope they get in the elections appear in greater numbers next year.

Ramlawi, who was elected for his first four-year term in 2018, said he was planning to be re-elected, welcomed Rheingans to the race and wished her the best of luck.

Ramlawi, a homeowner and owner of the downtown Jerusalem Garden restaurant, said he would not be able to achieve what he set out to do if he left his seat after a term. Much more work is needed to bring really diverse perspectives to the council table, he said.

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 hosted a livestream campaign launch event over the weekend at Miller Maple Townhomes, a rental complex in the west of the city. She is delighted with the city council’s recent move to form a tenants commission and sees the city’s new tenancy rules as another big step forward for tenants, she said, adding that she wants to help build on those guidelines.

Ann Arbor seeks to correct the “worrying power imbalance” between tenants and landlords

In addition to making housing affordable, she wants to help Ann Arbor live up to her progressive and inclusive ideals and meet her A2Zero climate goals, she said.

“With climate migration already beginning in the United States and Michigan being ranked as a top travel destination for people leaving coastal floodplains or western forest fires, Ann Arbor has to think about both today and tomorrow,” she said.

“Ann Arbor is a desirable city with our arts scene that rivals much larger cities, excellent schools, and progressive values. In the short term, it is important to achieve our A2Zero goals for CO2 neutrality, but we also need more living space and creative resilience planning for our own climate experiences on the horizon, such as stronger storms. “

Regarding affordability, she said, “It’s not just about housing, it’s also about daily expenses, and in our family that includes childcare. We have been attending a day-care center and preschool in Ypsilanti since she was three months old, because we couldn’t afford the centers near our home. “

Rheingans has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public health and social work from the UM.

“It was great to work with Carrie on the Washtenaw County Board of Health as she brings her public health and policy expertise and a strong boost to historically excluded community members to help us move forward as we ponder our recovery from COVID-19. “Pandemic,” said County Commissioner Katie Scott, D-Ann Arbor, in a statement in support of Rheingans’ candidacy.

Rheingans has a campaign website at, while Ramlawis is at

In addition to Ramlawi, Mayor Christopher Taylor and four other council members have terms through 2022. These include Jeff Hayner in District 1, Kathy Griswold in District 2, Julie Grand in District 3, and Elizabeth Nelson in District 4.

City records show that 5th District Democrat Jennifer Cornell has also withdrawn nominations from the city clerk’s office for a possible city council election in 2022. Cornell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Larry Cattell, a potential Republican mayoral candidate, has also withdrawn petitions.


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