The August 4, 2020 Primary Election is in 5 weeks. As voters begin to request their absentee ballots and consider voting from home and/or in person, Equity PAC is excited to announce its endorsement of 5 candidates for county seats.
“The elections this fall will be crucial to deciding what local leadership will bring us through this critical moment in history. Current events beg for electeds to be even bolder in their reimagining of how decisions are made and for whom. We believe this slate of 5 candidates will help secure robust, local leadership for the next few years,” says Kelsey Perdue of the Equity PAC Leadership team. “These candidates are a great representation of our 2020 priority issue areas.”
- Elaine Isely for Kent County Drain Commissioner
- Michelle McCloud for Kent County Commissioner, District 13
- Monica Sparks for Kent County Commissioner, District 12
- Jim Talen for Kent County Commissioner, District 15
- Stephen Wooden for Kent County Commissioner, District 18
Michelle McCloud is a new candidate for the Commission. She has experience as part of the City of Kentwood Zoning Board of Appeals and the Kent County Officers Compensation Committee. Her understanding and commitment to equity issues impressed the public and leadership team throughout the interview process. Even more, we understand she has helped other candidates running for office understand the moment we are in related to protests, riots and the fight for racial justice.
“Michelle McCloud’s experience, equity mindedness and personal leadership are invaluable and will be an asset on the Commission. She represents what we need more of - concerned residents who get involved in local issues and decisions and decide to run themselves. We are excited to be able to support her run”, says Keyuana Rosemond of the Equity PAC leadership team.
Two Kent County Commission candidates are being endorsed for a second time. Over the last two years, Monica Sparks and Stephen Wooden have shown a commitment to being accountable to the community and bringing needed perspectives to the Commission. One person who completed the feedback survey said: “from picket lines and protests to the halls of government, Stephen Wooden walks the walk when it comes to equity and inclusion.” Equity PAC will support their reelection and look forward to how they will continue to move the County forward.
Jim Talen, though this is his first endorsement, has sat on the Kent County Commission for many years. His public stand with Cosecha protesters and against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), his accessibility and approach to decision making make him an easy choice.
Russ Olmsted of the leadership team says that “Jim Talen brings experience and a true desire for equitable outcomes. He is a strong voice in our political system while staying connected to the people he serves.” That sentiment was echoed by the public: “Jim has always been a very responsive representative. He sends out an EXCELLENT weekly summary of events and concerns happening in Kent County and his district.”
Elaine Isley has a strong track record and comprehensive approach to water issues that includes neighbors up and down the Grand River. Equity PAC is committed to clean and safe water and environments for all and believes she will make a great Kent County Drain Commissioner. “Elaine understands that underserved communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues,” says Karina Zarate of the Equity PAC leadership team. “This understanding and her commitment to working with community partners to implement best practices will be important.” Even more, as the City of Grand Rapids pursues development downtown along the river, we believe Elaine’s insight and partnership could be key to making sure it is done right.
As COVID-19 is impacting the ability of candidates to knock doors and meet neighbors, Equity PAC is committed to supporting these 5 candidates through financial resources and volunteers as needed. If you’d like to get involved, consider making a donation and/or tell us how you’d like to get involved here.
If you’re unsure of your Kent County district, find that here.
Equity PAC held two public virtual forums via Facebook Live stream on June 16th and June 18th. Immediately following the forum, the public was invited to provide endorsement feedback to the leadership team. On June 25th, Equity PAC leadership convened to consider all input and key equity priorities to make our final decisions.
We thank all candidates who applied for endorsement, and those who participated in the public forum. The transparent action of applying and expressing your opinions as a candidate requires courage. Public discourse is vital to a healthy democracy. The contributions from everyone that participated in the forum - from candidates to the public to those working technology behind the scenes - is greatly appreciated.
About Equity PAC
Equity PAC is a Michigan-based, independent political action committee. Our mission is to continually increase the number of equity-minded officials, policies and practices in Michigan. To do this, we mobilize time and money to support equity-minded candidates and ballot initiatives, provide education and advocacy of equity-focused policies, and encourage direct citizen action to address a number of equity issues.
If you’d like to get more involved in Equity PAC, be sure to follow us on Facebook and tell us how you’d like to get involved here.