John Hieftje served as mayor of the city of Ann Arbor from 2000 until November 2014. (His last name is pronounced "HEEF-t-ya.") His 14-year tenure makes him the city's longest-serving mayor.
A Democrat, Hieftje was first elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in 1999, representing Ward 1. The following year, in 2000, he ran a successful campaign for mayor and was subsequently re-elected every two years until 2014, when he decided not to run again.
Because of his service as mayor, he has been a lecturer with the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy. Before being elected as mayor, he worked as a Realtor for the Charles Reinhart Company.
He is a member of several conservation and environmental groups, including The Wolfpack of the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club.
He is married to Kathryn Goodson, a pianist. They live in the Burns Park neighborhood. Hieftje has a son from his first marriage, Josh Hieftje.
Timeline: John Hieftje
November 2014: Ends tenure as mayor of Ann Arbor.
Nov. 6, 2012: Wins re-election in general election against independent candidate Albert Howard. Hieftje gets 42,262 votes (84.11%) compared to 7,652 votes (15.23%) for Howard.
Nov. 2, 2010: Wins re-election in general election against independent candidate Steve Bean. Hieftje gets 27,957 votes (81.99%) compared to 5,983 votes (17.55%) for Bean.
Aug. 3, 2010: Wins Democratic primary against challenger Patricia Lesko. Hieftje gets 10,058 votes (83.91%) compared to 1,869 votes (15.59%) for Lesko.
Nov. 4, 2008: Wins general election against Libertarian and University of Michigan student Eric Plourde. Hieftje gets 46,811 votes (84.94%) compared to 8,001 votes (14.52%) for Plourde.
Aug. 5, 2008: Wins Democratic primary against Tom Wall. Hieftje gets 68.60% of the vote compared to 31.27% for Wall.
2007: Is appointed to the Michigan Climate Action Council by Governor Jennifer Granholm.
Nov. 7, 2006: Wins general election against independent Tom Wall. Hieftje gets 30,935 votes (78.88%) compared to 8,283 votes (21.12%) for Wall.
Aug. 8, 2006: Wins Democratic primary against Ward 5 city councilmember Wendy Woods. Hieftje gets 69.71% of the vote compared to 30.29% for Woods.
Nov. 2, 2004: Wins general election against Republican and former Ward 2 city councilmember Jane Lumm. (Lumm later runs for and wins election in 2011 to represent Ward 2 again on city council as an independent. She defeats Stephen Rapundalo in the general election that year.) Hieftje gets 38,067 votes (68.65%) compared to 17,285 votes (31.17%) for Lumm.
2004: Joins board of directors for the Lake Superior Conservancy and Watershed Council in Sault St. Marie, Ontario.
2004-2005: Serves as chair of the Urban Core Mayors of Michigan.
2002-2013: Serves as the city's representative on the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board.
Nov. 5, 2002: Wins general election against Republican and former city councilmember Marcia Higgins. (Higgins later switches parties and in 2005 is elected as a Democrat to Ward 4 city council seat.) Hieftje gets 26,495 votes (75.05%) compared to 8,764 votes (24.83%) for Higgins.
Nov. 7, 2000: Wins general election against Libertarian Charles Goodman and Republican Stephen Rapundalo. (Rapundalo later switched parties and was elected in 2005 to city council representing Ward 2 as a Democrat.) Hieftje gets 34,111 votes (68.34%) compared to 13,946 votes (27.94%) for Rapundalo and 1,849 votes (3.7%) for Goodman.
November 1999: Wins general election for his first two-year term on city council, representing Ward 1.
August 1999: Wins Democratic primary for Ward 1 city council against Simone Lightfoot.
1998: Joins board of directors for the Huron River Watershed Council.
1997: Joins neighbors around Ann Arbor's Leslie Science Center to block what they deemed an oversized expansion plan for the city-owned facility. His involvement in this effort led to his decision to seek election to city council.
1997: Earns B.S. in political science from Eastern Michigan University, after having dropped out of college in his youth.
1989-1990: Serves as chair of the board of directors of Recycle Ann Arbor.
DATE? Works as a Realtor for the Charles Reinhart Company.
DATE? Serves as a surveyor for the U.S. Forest Service in northern Michigan.
1951: Born in Battle Creek, Michigan.
In the news
John Hieftje exit interview: 'I've accomplished everything I ever really set out to do' – MLive, Nov. 10, 2014
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje gets fond farewell at final council meeting – MLive, Nov. 7, 2014
Interview: Outgoing Ann Arbor Mayor, John Hieftje – WEMU, Nov. 4, 2014
Mayor John Hieftje shares final words with Ann Arbor Rotary Club before retiring – MLive, Sept. 18, 2014
Exit Interview Part Two: Mayor John Hieftje – Concentrate, Jan. 15, 2014
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje says he won't seek re-election in 2014 – MLive, Jan. 10, 2014
Exit Interview Part One: Mayor John Hieftje – Concentrate, Jan. 8, 2014
Ann Arbor Mayoral Race: Howard, Hieftje – Ann Arbor Chronicle, Oct. 16, 2014
Ann Arbor mayor talks roads, transit and job growth in unofficial 'state of the city' address – AnnArbor.com, June 12, 2013
Ann Arbor mayoral race: Albert Howard accuses Mayor John Hieftje of running 'shadow government' – AnnArbor.com, Oct. 13, 2012
Mayor Hieftje: Conversations on Economic Opportunity – Ann Arbor SPARK, Oct. 10, 2012
Mayor John Hieftje and allies lose majority control on Ann Arbor City Council – AnnArbor.com, Aug. 8, 2012
The Hieftje Decades: The Mayor Sees Even Tougher Times Ahead – Ann Arbor Observer, May 2011
Incumbent Hieftje posts win over Lesko in Democratic mayoral primary – Michigan Daily, Aug. 3, 2010
Satan for Mayor? The Hieftje-Lesko Slugfest – Ann Arbor Observer, July 2010
Gay rights groups endorse Mayor John Hieftje over Patricia Lesko in Ann Arbor mayoral race – AnnArbor.com, June 29, 2010
Hieftje's green vision: Making Ann Arbor energy independent one solar panel at a time – Michigan Daily, March 15, 2010
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje on Argo Dam – Ann Arbor News, Jan. 10, 2010
Hieftje discusses Ann Arbor's green projects – Michigan Daily, Oct. 29, 2008
Mayoral candidates meet for first time at debate – Michigan Daily, Oct. 14, 2008
Libertarian challenges Hieftje in Ann Arbor mayor's race – Ann Arbor News, Oct. 6, 2008
Changes bring Ann Arbor City Council back into mayor's corner – Ann Arbor News, Aug. 6, 2008
John Hieftje looks to Tom Wall race and beyond – Ann Arbor News, July 31, 2008
MIXED MEDIA: John Hieftje, Mayor of Ann Arbor – Crain's Detroit Business, March 3, 2008
Ann Arbor mayor vying for state appointment – Ann Arbor News, Aug 1, 2007 ("Hieftje said he is in the running to be the next the chairman of the three-member Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates the state's investor-owned natural gas, electric and telecommunications utilities, rural electrical cooperatives, and interstate motor carriers." He did not receive the appointment.)
Ann Arbor Mayor takes center stage – Michigan Daily, July 9, 2006
Hieftje for mayor – Michigan Daily, Nov. 4, 2002
- Wikipedia: John Hieftje
- ArborWeb: City Council and Mayor
- Campaign website: hieftje.org (archived 2012)
- johnhieftje on Flickr
Contributing to this Page
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