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Lawrence (Larry) Kestenbaum has been the Washtenaw County Clerk and Register of Deeds since 2005; he was elected in November, 2004, defeating his predecessor, and re-elected unopposed in 2008.
Washtenaw County is located in southeast Michigan, immediately west of the Detroit area, and includes the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. It has 710 square miles, about 350,000 people, and a taxable value of $14.5 billion. It is home to a number of educational institutions, including the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. It is the most highly educated county in Michigan and the tenth most highly educated county in the nation, out of more than three thousand U.S. counties.
As Clerk / Register, Mr. Kestenbaum is the county’s chief election official, and is custodian of a vast array of public records, from birth certificates to mortgages. He also serves as co-chair of the Legislative Committee for the Michigan Association of County Clerks, and has testified before House and Senate committees on a variety of issues.
He is also the creator (in 1996), owner, and webmaster of Political Graveyard.com, which is the Internet’s most comprehensive database of American political biography.
Previously, he served as a county commissioner, at different times, in Ingham and Washtenaw counties. In appointed positions, he has been a member of the Capital Area Transportation Authority board of directors, the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, the East Lansing Planning Commission, and as a board member for several nonprofits.
He has taught courses, given speeches, and served as a panelist, on topics ranging from Internet security to election law to cemetery history.
Prior to his election as county clerk, he was a staff member at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, serving as head of documentation for a major longitudinal survey of aging and retirement. Previously, he was an academic specialist in the Michigan State University Political Science Department, and managed the computer lab for the MSU School of Criminal Justice, where he provided data processing support for a national study of women’s prisons and jails.
Born in Chicago, he grew up in East Lansing, where his father was a professor of history at Michigan State University. He has a B.A. in Economics from MSU and a law degree from Wayne State University law school; he did graduate work in city and regional planning at Cornell University.