Ann Arbor Primary Candidate profile: Jason Frenzel, Ward 1

Jason Frenzel is running to retain his seat on the Ann Arbor City Council not because he has a lot of free time – which looking at his schedule is quite the opposite – but because there is still work to do in this “fabulous city.”

Frenzel, 42, wasn’t elected to the seat he occupies, but was appointed after Sabra Brier stepped down last year. Now he wants to occupy it with the support of the people he represents and his experience is certainly diverse and impressive.

Frenzel is a positive and optimistic voice, one that fosters cooperative action.

“Ann Arbor is a fabulous city with amazing successes that we should all celebrate,” says Frenzel, who was born in Lansing but has called Ann Arbor home for 36 years. “We have a vibrant and exciting downtown, hundreds of parks with thousands of acres for our residents to explore and play in and no shortage of cultural activities.”

A few of the highlights on his resume includes five years of creating budgets for city projects (and coming in under cost estimates); co-founder and chair of both the Homegrown Festival and the Local Food Summit; founder of the City of Ann Arbor Adopt-A-Park Program and Citizen Pruner Program; longtime volunteer and outreach coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation Program; and six years on the Huron River Watershed Council.

He’s also served on audit committees, energy commissions, environmental commissions and the Washtenaw Area Transit System.

A “progressive, pragmatic Democrat,” Frenzel talks with great pride when the discussion turns to the city he calls home. But “with all the amazing things that Ann Arbor is, we also know that our town is not perfect.”

While perfect will never be accomplished, Frenzel isn’t going to let that stop him from getting as close to that goal as possible. He believes the city’s role is to “balance the citizens’ needs and ensure healthy growth, while holding a long-term vision for financial stability and success.”

“I will improve our city by promoting diversified economic growth and jobs; improving efficiency and effectiveness via robust regional cooperation; and fostering a budget process that allows for greater citizen participation,” he said.

He says his first priority is Ann Arbor’s efforts on climate change.

“Be it renewable energy, clean air and water or the health of our children’s future, this is where my passion’s lie,” he says.

It’s also were a lot of his time lies.

His experience with climate change effects he hopes to use to help keep Ann Arbor in the forefront of eco-wise decisions.

“For 10 years I worked at the city’s natural-area preservation where I am proud to have initiated the Adopt a Park program which allows residents to improve their parks,” he said. “And at the Huron Watershed Council we protect the mighty Huron, our drinking water source and a favorite location for boating and fishing.”

Ann Arbor’s popularity means more of everything and safety concerns on the roads also is at the top of his priority list. Making the roads and sidewalks and bike ways as safe as possible is an ongoing concern and one that only increases as the population and traffic increases.

And as far as core services provided by the city, Frenzel believes that some recent service cuts have gone too far and as the economy improves, “we must be judicious about restoring services. First and foremost, we need to focus on basic services, infrastructure, and safety.”

Frenzel also understands, supports and appreciates the fact that he is representing the citizen’s best interests and believes that open dialogue, interaction and community involvement is the best path to take in order to achieve a represented government.

“I have worked for years to make sure our city’s government is transparent and easy to traverse,” he says. “I will listen to your concerns, represent them equally, and work smartly to solve them.”


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