I'm honored to have been elected three times by the people of the 19th District -- southeastern Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids -- to be a Kent County Commissioner for 6 years. Before that, I served 5 years as an East Grand Rapids City Commissioner. In that time, I've accomplished a lot. Even before being an elected official, I have served the people of West Michigan. Here is an overview of my work in office.
Before February 2012
Before being elected to the East Grand Rapids City Commission, I taught history at Aquinas College, ran democratic campaigns, worked for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and served as a member of the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Alliance for Investment
February 2012 to
I served on the East Grand Rapids City Commission for nearly 5 years, and in that time I accomplished a lot for the residents of EGR.
Pushed for and passed a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance to protect the LGBT community
Implemented a comprehensive plan to fix our streets and sidewalks
Built and upgraded parks and trails
Supported economic growth in the Gaslight Village business district
Balanced our budget with sound fiscal practices
Improved City communication with citizens by upgrading the website and starting a Facebook page.
January 2017 to
I've been elected three times to the Kent County Commission, on which I still serve today. I'm proud of all I've accomplished for the people of Kent County. Strap in, this one is going to be a long list.
Implemented the Ready by Five Early Childhood Development initiative to ensure all Kent County children are healthy and kindergarten-ready
Launched new efforts to aggressively find creative ways to limit exposure to lead paint and establish universal blood testing of children to end lead poisoning
Partnered with health providers to make dental care available to all Kent County children through the Healthy Kids Dental initiative
Hired Kent County’s first Chief Inclusion Officer and issued a countywide commitment to rid all systems of racial injustice and discrimination
Held polluters accountable, started cleaning up PFAS contaminants, and hired more scientists to support these efforts
Expanded two parks along the Grand River
Completed the Gerald R. Ford Airport remodel and expansion project
Signed an agreement with the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority (DGRI) ensuring the County, City of Grand Rapids, and DGRI are partners in spurring economic development downtown
Supported the Health Department’s robust test, trace, and isolate strategy and world-class vaccine clinic
Ensured federal grants were distributed equitably and where they were most needed: frontline workers, schools, small businesses, non-profits, childcare providers, housing, cities, and communities most affected by the virus
Added free WiFi hotspots in GR, EGR, and across the county to help close the digital divide so workers and students can reliably access the internet
January 2015 to
While serving on the East Grand Rapids City Commission and the Kent County Commission, I've also been a long time legislative director for the 75th district in the Michigan legislature, so I know how things work in the House. I've already been able to accomplish a lot in Lansing:
Introduced legislation to increase transparency in government, making our elected officials work for the people and not corporations
Pioneered legislation to help thousands of Michiganders clean up old criminal records from a broken justice system, fighting to get the support of colleagues
Pushed for increased support of EV infrastructure to combat climate change and keep our Great Lakes clean
Plans for the future
I've done a lot for Michigan, but there is still a lot more work to be done. To see some of my plans for the future, visit my priorities page, where I talk about how we can make Michigan better for everyone.
Member, County Committee of the Kent County Democratic Party, 2006-Present
Co-Director, One Michigan Alliance (formerly First Friday Fundraiser Group), 2007–Present
Chair, Kent County Democratic Party, 2008-2010
Member, Third Congressional District Democratic Party Executive Committee, 2008-2018.
Member, Central Committee, Michigan Democratic Party, 2008-2012
Campaign Manager, David LaGrand for State Senate, 2010
Campaign Manager, The Rapid Millage Campaign of the Friends of Transit, 2011
Campaign Manager, Grand Rapids Public Schools “Warm, Safe and Dry” Millage Campaign of the Friends of Kent County Schools, 2011
Campaign Manager, Winnie Brinks for State House, 2012
Campaign Manager, The GRCC Millage Campaign of the Friends of Our Community College, 2012
Campaign Manager, Fix Our Streets and Sidewalks of the Fix Our Streets EGR Committee, 2015
Campaign Manager, Yes for Our Parks and Schools of the East United Committee, 2021
West Michigan Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, 2011-2012
Member, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Alliance for Investment, 2011-2016
Legislative Director, 75th District, Michigan House of Representatives, 2015-2022