Note: This post is guest authored by Jennifer Santi Hall, who is very active in local politics and government in Ann Arbor. She is currently chair of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and vice-chair of the Ann Arbor Greenbelt Advisory Commission, and formerly served as chair of the Ann Arbor Planning Commission. She’s also my wife, and always reminds me that all politics – including the politics of environmental protection – start locally.
Ann Arbor residents demonstrated their commitment to environmental protection yesterday by re-electing John Hieftje to a fifth term as Mayor of the City of Ann Arbor. Mayor Hieftje won the democratic primary handily with 70% of the vote (the democratic primary is the only game in town, as the republicans did not even nominate a candidate for mayor). Mayor Hieftje has received numerous accolades for his work on environmental issues. In 2003, he led a successful campaign for a dedicated millage to create a greenbelt of farmland and open space around Ann Arbor, including significant portions of the Huron River watershed. In 2005, he launched a green energy initiative and in 2006 the City Council approved his Green Energy Challenge program, committing the city to 30% renewable energy consumption and a 20% greenhouse gas reduction by 2010. In 2007, the mayor and city council prohibited the purchase and distribution of bottled water at city functions (perhaps prompting some local restaurants to stop serving bottled water). And this year, Ann Arbor won an award for being a national leader in the use of LED technology, as featured on the local FOX news. In recognition of his accomplishments, Mayor Hieftje was awarded the 2008 Environmental Leadership Award by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Wonder what he'll do next?