Hello, Ann Arbor Neighbors!
My name is Elizabeth Nelson and I am very excited to serve on City Council representing the Fourth Ward! I have lived in this ward since 2004, in the subdivision between Pauline and Stadium.
I have two sons: Henry, 17, and Hugo, 15. Our family loves Ann Arbor. Over the years we have probably hiked, biked, canoed, wandered, dined, and shopped most of the places that make our town great.
I grew up outside of Chicago, attended college at Rutgers University and earned my Juris Doctor at University of Maryland School of Law. I first moved to Ann Arbor in 1999 to marry my husband, Peter. I passed the Michigan bar exam in 2000 and six months later, my husband and I moved to England for his work (Ford Motor Company). For four years, we lived outside of London, where my son, Henry, was born. We moved back to Ann Arbor in 2004.
SKILLS & MOTIVATION
For as long as I’ve lived in Ann Arbor, I have organized with my neighbors, volunteered in the public schools, and worked in local service organizations. Though I never practiced law, the education trained me to apply rules and standards to situations and facts. I follow local government closely because I'm interested in how we promote the public interest through policy. Our priorities become our policies.
For six years, I led a drama club at my children’s elementary school, presenting twelve plays that included 30-60 kids annually. As a member of the Ann Arbor branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), I was fundraising chair, membership chair, and program chair. In 2009, I chaired the AAUW Used Book Sale, organizing the efforts of over a hundred volunteers and generating $40,000 in proceeds. I'm an active volunteer at the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop and chaired its marking committee (2012-13). I am someone who looks for opportunities to be useful and support my community. I do not sit still when something needs to be done.
In 2006, I helped found an online support group and advocacy organization— Children of Hoarders (COH)—- to raise awareness about how compulsive hoarding disorder impacts children and families. At that time, outside of academic circles, compulsive hoarding was not widely understood or discussed as a mental health issue. Since founding COH, I’ve done significant advocacy in the media both locally and nationally. I have presented on this topic to many groups, including graduate classes at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, University of Michigan Depression Center, and OCD Foundation of Michigan. The COH organization is a member of the Washtenaw County Hoarding Task Force. I believe that the best analysis of any issue includes the interests of all stakeholders. We arrive at the best solutions when every stakeholder is heard.
Most recently, I went back to school at the University of Michigan to get a masters degree in education studies with certification to teach elementary school. For three years, I worked primarily as a substitute teacher, covering long-term assignments that require certification. I am now a classroom teacher at an Ann Arbor preschool.
In April 2018, I filed petitions to run for Ann Arbor City Council in Ward 4 as a Democrat. I spent the summer campaigning all over Ward 4, talking to residents. I won the Democratic primary on August 7, 2018. I won the General Election on November 6, 2018.
I officially started serving my four year term on City Council on Nov 12, 2018. I am proud to represent Ward 4!