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Soapbox Summer - Jennifer Symanns

Jennifer Symanns

  Jennifer Symanns is a candidate for Ward 2 Representative on Ypsilanti City Council.  This is her submission for WEMU's "Soapbox Summer." 

Hi! I’m Jennifer Symanns and I am a Democrat running for Ypsilanti City Council in Ward 2. I decided to seek this office because I believe that I can make a difference.

I realize that our city is at a critical crossroads. While efforts have been made to reduce debt and stabilize services; taxes are high, and Water Street looms large. Despite all of this, I do believe there is the potential for exciting new progress and growth, but only if we have the courage and common sense to make the necessary decisions to get there.

Never has it been more important to elect to City Council a person who can represent your voice; someone who will act in the best interest of our ward and our city. I believe I am capable of meeting that challenge and I look forward to the work ahead.

I offer a unique set of relevant skills and experience that includes: law enforcement with an emphasis on crime prevention and community policing; human resources management; law; city service as a Human Relations Commissioner; and civil mediation. I attended Eastern Michigan University and have at some point lived in every ward in the City. I was a home owner in Normal Park for 20 years and now reside in College Heights with family.

Currently, I manage a self-funded human resources department at the University of Michigan which means we have to generate 100% of our revenue in order to cover our expenses and keep the lights on, so to speak. In challenging economic times, I have had to be creative, think outside the box, and work hard to find new ways to streamline processes and generate revenue while still providing the needed services to our customers.

This isn’t much different than the situation we find ourselves in our City and, if elected, I want to make sure that we continue to be creative, keep looking for new opportunities, and making better decisions. I want to make sure that we are being the best stewards of our limited resources for our tax payers.
If elected, I also plan on continuing the work I’ve been doing as a Commissioner on the Human Relations Commission to strengthen police and community relations in order to improve our public safety services. I also want to make sure that our public safety professionals have the tools and support that they need in order to perform their jobs safely and effectively. I am a former community police officer with experience bringing community members together to solve issues and I’d like to continue working on building a safe and thriving city for everyone.

Related to all of these issues, I believe that diversity is ultimately our strength in this City. It is one of the things that make Ypsilanti a vibrant community and one of the reasons I, like many others, have chosen to live here. But diversity is not just limited to people... it’s also businesses, jobs, development, and opportunities. I believe that the analysis in reports such as the Washtenaw County Affordability & Economic Equity report and Washtenaw Opportunity Index are important to the future of our city and county and, if elected, I will advocate for projects that support such analyses and that help strengthen the overall diversity and equity of our community in all areas.

That being said, it’s going to take broad, creative solutions to solve our complex problems. It is also going to take a City Council with vision, leadership, teamwork, and common sense.

I represent relevant, real life experience in critical areas that the City will be facing in the years to come: budget and finance, law, human resources, and public safety. I also have extensive experience working across boundaries and bridging gaps to bring people together to solve problems. I care about our past, I am concerned about our present, and I am invested in our future.

I would like to be your voice on City Council and I hope I can count on your vote on August 2 to help me get there. To find out more about me, please visit my website: jenniferforypsi.org. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I look forward to meeting you as I visit door-to-door in Ward 2 this summer. Thanks again!