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A new perspective for Midland County

I grew up in Georgia, the daughter of an Air Force officer and a schoolteacher. Growing up in Warner Robins was probably a lot like growing up in Midland in the sixties and seventies. It was a small city, with two rival high schools and one big employer. I was a nerdy kid in school, always taller than all my classmates, and I was interested in things like math, science, and reading. After high school, I went to Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga, and graduated with a degree in chemistry. Then I went on to Texas A&M University, where I earned a MS in chemical engineering and met my husband, Neal, who was also a grad student. Next, I worked for IBM as a manufacturing engineer in Austin, TX, while Neal earned his PhD at UT Austin. In 1990, we moved to Baton Rouge where he started his career with Dow Chemical and I became a “stay at home parent”  to our two children, who kept me busy and seldom at home. 

We moved to Midland in  2000 and it’s been a wonderful place for my husband and me to raise our family. We have enjoyed living in Michigan and after 22 years, really feel at home here in Midland County. I’ve been fortunate to be a stay at home mom, which has allowed me to get involved in the community in many ways. I’ve been a Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher, and school volunteer. I've served as an officer in local women’s groups like the Zoe Club of Midland, volunteered at Shelterhouse Resale Shop, reviewed scholarship applications for the Midland Area Community Foundation, served on the Midland Symphony Orchestra Advisory Board, supplied tech assistance at Midland 100 Club meetings, and much more. I’m currently serving as volunteer assistant treasurer at Midland United Church of Christ, where I’ve been a member for the last five years. I'm also on the leadership team for Women of Michigan Action Network (WOMAN), a local activist group. In that role, I've lead community service projects, organized protest rallies, cleaned up trash on US 10, and written op-ed columns for the Midland Daily News. In my spare time, I enjoy walking with my two dogs in Midland’s beautiful neighborhoods and parks. I also enjoy smartphone photography, attending events at the Midland Center for the Arts, and spending time with family and friends. 

Anyone who has done volunteer work knows that skills like collaboration, networking, compromise, and  communication are important to be an effective community leader. In addition, my background in science and engineering taught me how to look at data, ask questions, and use teamwork to arrive at practical solutions to problems. In any group that I’ve been a member of, I’ve never been content to sit on the sidelines – I’ve always been willing to step into leadership roles when needed. I think that most people who know me would describe me as capable and competent, putting my best effort into anything I do.  Through these all experiences,  I’ve gotten to know the people of Midland County. I’ve seen the challenges that some people in our county face. I’ve also seen the strength of our community and how we work to address those issues with community, philanthropic, and government groups working together. 

Three years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn more about our local government, so I  took part in the City of Midland’s Citizen Academy to learn more about the city. This year, I’ve been attending commissioner board meetings and committee meetings to better understand what the job of the county commissioner entails. The three primary functions of the commissioners are to (1) set policy, (2) oversee the budget and the various county departments, and  (3) listen to/advocate for their constituents. The job of being a county commissioner is less about political parties and more about being willing to work as a team with the other commissioners and county staff to make sure our government runs efficiently and effectively. After observing for several months, it's a job that I believe I can do. I also believe that my experience, skills, and community connections will help me be especially effective at the third item on the list of what commissioners are supposed to do. I will be out in the community and accessible to constituents, in whatever part of district five you work in or reside.

I decided to run because I love Midland and Midland County, but I know we can be better.  It's time for a new perspective for Midland County. Check out the "Priorities" tab for more details on where I stand. 

Election season is a perfect time for candidates to meet with potential voters to get to know them and learn about the issues that are important to them. That’s what I’ll be doing this fall – listening to voters in my district, meeting with them at their front door and in our neighborhood parks. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. If you want to meet with me or host an event in your backyard for your neighbors, just let me know and we’ll get something set up! Sign up below to get campaign updates - I won't spam your inbox, I promise! And follow me on social media, where I’ll be sharing what I've learned about my district and the county so that you can be a more informed voter.


p.s.  If the photograph of the tridge that is the background on this website on looks familiar, perhaps you saw it in the City of Midland Community Calendar for 2022. I took the photograph myself and submitted it to the calendar contest. It was chosen for the month of September, and it's titled "Fall Fishing by the Tridge". Photography is a hobby of mine, though I don't do anything fancy - I just pay attention and take lots photos with my smartphone.

family in front of painting.jpg
people in front of a vehicle
Photo credit Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News
Citizens Academy completion certificate. Does not imply endorsement by the City of Midland or Mayor Donker.
WOMAN Highway cleanup volunteers, US 10
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