Mike Fried running for 11th District seat on Washtenaw County board
Mike Fried says he came to Ann Arbor in 1959 as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and never left.
What also never left was his desire to serve the community. Fried, 68, announced today his candidacy for the 11th District seat on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.
Fried, a Democrat, is the third candidate to announce intentions to run for the seat being vacated by County Commissioner Jeff Irwin, who is running for the state House of Representatives.
Fried, who has lived in Washtenaw County's 11th District for the last two decades, joins fellow Democrats Yousef Rabhi and LuAnne Bullington in the race for Irwin's seat. A fourth candidate, Ann Arbor resident Alice Ralph, also is likely to run.
The primary election is Aug. 3.
Fried (pronounced Freed) has extensive experience in public service. He serves on the boards of various community organizations that are working on issues ranging from the assimilation of immigrants to Washtenaw County to jail overcrowding.
"I call myself a professional volunteer now," he quipped. "I love challenges, and I'm a problem solver. I'm really proudest of times I've been able to get different groups to work together to solve a problem, and that's what I hope I can do if I'm elected."
In his professional career, Fried was the first assistant director of U-M's Institute for Public Policy Studies. He then worked as the chief of administration/prosecutor administrator at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office until he retired after 26 years of service. Last year, Fried was appointed by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners to the county's Criminal Justice Collaborative Council. The group currently is working on ways to improve the county's criminal justice system.
Fried is a trained mediator and serves on the board of the Dispute Resolution Center, a nonprofit agency that provides low-cost mediation services to the public and serves Washtenaw and Livingston counties through its offices in Ann Arbor.
Fried also serves on the board of Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, where he is treasurer. And he's on the board of the Michigan Israel Business Bridge, where he is webmaster.
Fried co-founded Wayne County's mental health diversion program, which involves collaboration among the prosecutor, several police agencies, community corrections, the sheriff's office, and the mental health department. He also founded and directed the Wayne Area Justice Information System, a consortium of prosecutors, courts and police that facilitates data sharing among its agencies.
Fried, a relative political newcomer who is running for office for the first time, vows to bring the same spirit of cooperation to his role as county commissioner if elected.
"Times are difficult in the county, and I think I can make a contribution," he said, adding he already has some experience working with county officials from his community involvement.
"I've worked very closely with county IT, and I've worked with judges and the prosecutor and others with respect to the Dispute Resolution Center," he said. "For example, when we had the evacuees from Katrina a few years back, I put together a committee to make sure the various legal resources were available to them, so I'm quite familiar with much of Washtenaw County."
Rabhi, one of Fried's challengers, announced his candidacy last month.
Bullington, another contender, formed a campaign committee last fall after she lost a race for the 3rd Ward on the Ann Arbor City Council. Bullington confirmed she still plans to run for the 11th District seat on the county board, despite some rumors that she was dropping out of the race.
"I'm still running," Bullington said, predicting it will be a clean race given her three likely opponents. "District 11 has been blessed with some really excellent candidates. The voters can't go wrong with any one of them. All three of them are amazing people, and I'm proud to be in the race with them."
Fried’s campaign Web site is http://mikefriedforcommissioner.org/.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529.
Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.
Mike certainly has some good qualifications but I have some concerns about his tie to the current BOC. That board has been together too long and there is too much buddy buddy decision making. We are getting a new administrator and we need some new commissioners who can bring a different viewpoint to the board and who are not so tied into the current political buddy buddy system that has caused some serious stagnation at the board level. The only commissioner that seems to buck the current status Quo is Kristin Judge but she can't nor should she be the only one to do so.