Sheldon earned a bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Michigan University, and a master's in education from the University of Michigan, before working briefly as an elementary school teacher. Her husband, Cliff Sheldon, served as a member of the Ann Arbor city council from 1978 to 1982. Ingrid Sheldon became involved in city government during these years, and first ran for elective office in 1988, when she was elected to the city council as a Republican.
Four years later, Sheldon ran for mayor, attacking what she and her supporters deemed to be the imperious style of governance by incumbent Democratic mayor Liz Brater. The campaign was seen as one of Ann Arbor's more divisive mayoral contests of recent years. Sheldon defeated Brater in the April 5, 1993, election.
Sheldon won an easy reelection victory over Democratic challenger David F. Stead in November 1994. (Ann Arbor mayoral elections had been moved from April of every odd-numbered year to November of every even-numbered year, in order to coincide with state and federal elections, during Sheldon's first term in office.)
In Sheldon's reelection campaigns of 1996 and 1998, she eked out narrow victories against Ann Arbor Democratic city-councilman Chris Kolb, who accused Sheldon of not doing enough in the areas of environmental policy, affordable housing, and downtown vitality. Sheldon left office in 2000 when she elected not to run again, and she was succeeded by Democrat John Hieftje.
As a Republican mayor in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, and facing large Democratic majorities on the city council throughout her tenure, Sheldon took a moderate and conciliatory approach to governance. She described herself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, with a practical rather than ideological approach to the city's problems.
During her years as mayor, Sheldon served on the board of the Michigan Association of Mayors, and served as president of the Michigan Municipal League. She chaired the league's Let Local Votes Count campaign, an attempt in 2000 to pass a state initiative that would limit the state government's ability to overturn local municipalities' ordinances.
Since leaving office, Sheldon has been involved with a number of local nonprofit organizations, including the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre. She has two children, Amy Cell and Bill Sheldon, and six grandchildren: Alexandria Cell, Olivia Cell, Kristina Cell, Henry Sheldon, Cole Sheldon, and Clark Sheldon. Sheldon discusses her childhood and experiences as mayor in an essay in the book Ann Arbor (W)rites: A Community Memoir, ed. Nicholas Delbanco (Ann Arbor District Library, 2004).
In July 2012 campaign finance reports, she was listed as the bookkeeper for the Huron Valley Tennis Club when she gave $500 to the Our New Downtown Library campaign to build a new library in downtown Ann Arbor.
- Mayors of Ann Arbor page at PoliticalGraveyard.com
- Ingrid Sheldon on LocalWiki
- Ingrid Sheldon interview on Teeter Talk, 2006
|Mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan