Ann Arbor City Council – Ward 5

Chip Smith

Chip Smith

UPDATE: Incumbent Chip Smith defeated Ali Ramlawi on Nov. 7, 2017. Smith received 51.47% of votes, compared to 48.36% for Ramlawi. Turnout in Ward 5 was 27.09%. Click here for detailed results of the Ward 5 election.

Charles "Chip" Smith is a senior planner in the Environmental Design and Planning Group of Wade Trim, a Detroit-based firm. He is running for his second term on the Ann Arbor City Council. On Nov. 7 he faces Ali Ramwali, who is running as an independent. Smith defeated David Silkworth in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary, winning 52.52% of the vote.

In his role on council, Smith serves on several advisory committees and commissions, including the Environmental Commission, Transportation Commission, the Medical Marijuana Ordinance Review Committee and the Liquor License Review Committee.

Smith has sponsored or co-sponsored over three dozen resolutions, including ones that relate to pedestrian safetyprevailing wage requirements, the 1,4 dioxane plume and the 2016 Regional Transit Authority ballot proposal, among other issues. He voted in favor of the sale of development rights on the downtown Library Lot and in support of the city's deer management plan – though he recently co-sponsored a budget amendment to defund that program, and to shift those funds to climate action and pedestrian safety programs instead. (The proposal failed on a 3-8 vote.)

Smith has stated that he supports sustainable funding for affordable housing and climate adaptation programs, as well as the need to address the city's housing shortage. He also supports improving roads to make them safe for all users. He has made pedestrian and bicycle safety a bedrock issue since initially running for council in 2013.

His campaign website provides details of his priorities in the categories of climate & environment, financial responsibility, housing & affordability, neighborhoods, infrastructure, and recycling/organic waste.

Smith was first elected to council on November 2015 after defeating incumbent Mike Anglin in the August Ward 5 Democratic primary. In November 2013, Smith had been an official write-in candidate for the Ward 5 seat but lost to Anglin, the incumbent. 

Smith holds a masters degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan, an undergraduate degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a graduate certificate in Local Government Management from Eastern Michigan University. At Wade Trim, he works with municipal clients on redevelopment issues, planning and policy. He is an AICP certified planner and is responsible for project management. 

Smith lives on Ann Arbor's Old West Side. He is married to Courtney Piotrowski and has two young daughters.

His campaign treasurer is Samantha Brdek, an accounting and finance employee at Benevolent, a fundraising site focused on connecting donors with low-income recipients.

Chip Smith:  In The News

Vote for City Council (endorsement editorial)Michigan Daily, Nov. 5, 2017

City Council candidates look to Tuesday's general electionMichigan Daily, Nov. 1, 2017

Nowhere to grow but up? Ann Arbor grapples with solutions to its high-rise problemConcentrate, Nov. 1, 2017

Tens of thousands of dollars raised, spent in Ann Arbor council racesMLive, Oct. 30, 2017

Ward 5 candidates share views on $55M trail, other Ann Arbor issuesMLive, Oct. 10, 2017

Candidate Comment (video) Ward 5 starts at the 11:46-minute mark – Community Television Network, Oct. 6, 2017

Ward 5 League of Women Voters Candidate Forum (Video)Community Television Network, Oct. 5, 2017

Op-Ed: Student voices matter in local politicsMichigan Daily, Sept. 18, 2017

Chip Smith wins 5th Ward Ann Arbor council primaryMLive, Aug. 8, 2017

Ann Arbor City Council incumbents face slate of anti-high-rise challengersMichigan Radio, Aug. 7, 2017

City Council elections to take place Tuesday (Roundup of races) – Michigan Daily, Aug. 7, 2017

What should Ann Arbor be doing to fight climate change?MLive, Aug. 7, 2017

Campaign finance reports show political alliances in Ann Arbor racesMLive, Aug. 1, 2017

Ann Arbor's gentrification becomes a City Council election issueMLive, July 28, 2017

Ann Arbor council candidates greeted by protesters at Dems forumMLive, July 26, 2017

League of Women Voters Ward 5 Candidate Forum (video) – Community Television Network, July 13, 2017

Candidate Comment: Chip Smith (video) – Community Television Network, July 7, 2017

Ann Arbor council votes 8-3 on how it'd use millions in new tax moneyMLive, July 4, 2017

Ann Arbor urges residents to use solar energyDetroit Free Press, June 3, 2017

City votes to keep deer cull in the budgetMichigan Daily, May 15, 2017

Ann Arbor council feeling heavy weight of decision on 17-story high-riseMLive, April 17, 2017

City Council passes ordinance protecting undocumented citizensMichigan Daily, April 3, 2017

Council votes 10-1 to negotiate contract with Recycle Ann ArborMLive, March 7, 2017

The dog days of Ann Arbor's final odd-year election cycleMLive, Feb. 16, 2017

First Steps: With more vehicle deaths than murders, the city tries to change a car-centric cultureAnn Arbor Observer, July 2016

Ann Arbor has lofty goals for solar energy, but can it achieve them?MLive, June 21, 2016

Chip and ChuckThe Ann Arbor Observer, December 2015

Candidate Comment (Smith's segment starts at the 8:41 mark)Community Television Network, Oct. 9, 2015

League of Women Voters Ward 5 Candidate ForumCommunity Television Network, Oct. 8, 2015

Ann Arbor Democratic Party candidate forum – June 13, 2015 video posted on YouTube

City Council Candidate Interviews – Chip Smith: Ward 5Damn Arbor, Nov. 3, 2013