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"Ann Arbor needs progressive leaders who collaborate, problem-solve, and build effective working relationships through respectful communication and integrity."

Photo by Doug Coombe

 
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Ann Arbor is where I’ve made my home for almost 20 years, enjoying its sense of community, progressive values, and high overall livability.

 

My husband, Devon, and I moved from East Lansing to Ann Arbor in 2002 as aspiring graduate students. In addition to being a hub for higher education, we chose Ann Arbor for its walkability, vibrant downtown, and numerous cultural amenities.

 

Upon completing our graduate studies, we stayed because we believed—and continue to believe—our city is unparalleled in southeast Michigan.

I’m running for City Council because our residents deserve strong city services and good governance, because people who want to live here increasingly can’t afford housing, and because we’re at a critical crossroads with climate change.

To address these, and other important issues, I believe Ann Arbor needs progressive leaders who collaborate, problem-solve, and build effective working relationships through respectful communication and integrity.

Photo by Doug Coombe

I’m asking for your support to serve you as a Council Member in the 4th Ward.

Meeting the needs of the present while building for the future

Below are some of the issues that motivated me to run for City Council. I look forward to learning more about the issues facing Ward 4 residents! 

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WHY I'M
RUNNING

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GOOD GOVERNANCE

Residents deserve a transparent city government that listens to and engages with a broad range of community constituents, practices constructive dialogue around policy issues, and effectively solves problems. This includes ensuring we have clean drinking water, fixing roads and sidewalks that are in poor repair, and reliably removing trash, recycling, and compost.

Immediate CLIMATE ACTION

Urgent action is needed to address climate change. Broadly supported by our community, the A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan has ambitious goals that we must work together to actualize.

AFFORDABILITY

Too many people who work in Ann Arbor can’t afford to live here, pushing them into surrounding communities where they must commute to earn a living. Let’s ensure that our city is one that people from all walks of life can call home. 

CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Ann Arbor is known for its rich cultural legacy, celebrated by residents and admired by visitors from near and far. However, Ann Arbor has become prohibitively expensive for many artists and creative workers, and the pandemic has dealt a crushing blow to creatives and the organizations that champion local creative industries. Now is the time to create a more supportive community for our existing arts and creative industries and to attract new ones.

TRANSPORTATION

The options we have for moving around tie directly to carbon emissions reduction efforts, affordability, equity, and accessibility. Let’s continue to build out a robust transit system that makes walking, cycling, and taking the bus safe, reliable, and convenient. 

ABOUT ME

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: yes, Dharma is my given name, bestowed on me by my 70s era hippie parents.

 

I was born in Houghton, Michigan and raised in Lake Leelanau, where my mom was a small-business owner and my dad was a UA Local 85 pipefitter.

 

My parents taught me from a young age that citizens have power when they organize and that government at every level exists to serve the people. My dad’s union membership was both a source of pride and financial stability for my family that I appreciate to this day.

Photo by Doug Coombe

A first-generation college student, I earned a Masters and a PhD in Information from the University of Michigan School of Information, where I was a member of the Graduate Employee Union.

I have almost 20 years of experience working in the library, archives, and information fields.

Today, I’m an assistant research scientist and the director of project management and user support at UM-ICPSR (part of the Institute for Social Research), where I’m a leader known for rapport-building communication, curiosity, and creative, impactful problem-solving.

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MEET MY FAMILY

I have lived with my husband, Devon Akmon - respected leader in the cultural arts sector - in Ann Arbor since 2002 and the 4th Ward since 2005.

 

We share our home with a very sweet and lazy retired racing greyhound named Spazz in the Dicken neighborhood, on Ann Arbor’s southwest side.

 
 
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public service

I have a long record of local public service work and engagement, beginning as a volunteer with Project Grow Community Gardens and 826Michigan.

 

My interest in local politics was ignited in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election. Searching for a positive, proactive response, I quickly determined that I had the most power to affect change within my own community.

I joined the League of Women Voters, Washtenaw County where I moderated regional candidate forums; and served as a moderator for the A2 Ethics Bowl, which brings high school students together to debate current ethics issues.

 

An avid bicycle, bus, and pedestrian commuter, I’m also an active member of the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking coalition.

In 2018, I was elected to the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees, where I’m currently serving in my second term as Treasurer.

With my fellow trustees, I have overseen the development and implementation of a new strategic plan and managed a $17M annual budget, capital improvement, and expansion planning.

 

I will complete my term as Trustee in 2022.

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