Home Advocate Former Grand Rapids School Board president, community advocate competing for open seat in Third Ward

Former Grand Rapids School Board president, community advocate competing for open seat in Third Ward

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A former chair of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education and a community advocate are vying Nov. 8 for the seat of the open municipal commission representing much of the southeast side of Grand Rapids.

The Reverend Kenneth Hoskins, senior pastor of Alpha Omega Ministries and executive director of Oakdale Neighbors, and Kelsey Perdue, director of the Kids Count in Michigan project for the Michigan League for Public Policy, are the two candidates vying for the seat of the third area left open. by outgoing curator Senita Lenear.

Lenear, who has represented the city’s third ward since 2014, has a limited term and cannot run in the November elections.

The winner of the Nov. 8 election will represent the Third Ward alongside Commissioner Nathaniel Moody, whose current term expires in 2024. The seats are nonpartisan.

The Third Ward is home to the majority of Grand Rapids’ black population and has historically been underfunded by public and private investment.

Grand Rapids’ Third Ward is located on the southeast side of the city and is generally defined by Wealthy Street to the north, Jefferson Avenue to the west, and the city limits with neighboring municipalities to the south and east.

Hoskins, 63, served on the Grand Rapids Public Schools School Board from 2004 to 2012, serving two of those years as the body’s president. In addition to currently serving as senior pastor at Alpha Omega Ministries, he is the executive director of Oakdale Neighbors, a Christian community development organization.

Hoskins said he has also served on several boards throughout the city, region and state, including the Advisory Board for the Regional Agency on Aging, the Advisory Board for the Citizen-Based Initiative the Governor’s Faith, the Urban Young Life Board of Trustees, the Cornerstone University Alumni Council, the Vision To End Homelessness Advisory Council, and the city’s Housing Appeal Board. Hoskins holds a doctorate in theological studies.

Related: Former Grand Rapids School Board chairman seeks city commission seat

Perdue, 32, is the director of the Kids Count in Michigan project for the Michigan League for Public Policy. Last year, she was appointed to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Black Leadership Advisory Council. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, as well as the Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission and the Board of Directors for First Steps Kent, which oversees the Ready Early Childhood Mileage. by Five of the County’s $34 million.

Perdue is also CEO and owner of KP Products and Services LLC, which, according to his LinkedIn, provides consulting services related to nonprofit strategy and operations, equity and justice work, and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development from Howard University.

Related: Community Advocate Announces Grand Rapids City Commission Campaign

MLive/The Grand Rapids Press has partnered with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information to readers. Each candidate was asked to state their positions on a variety of public policy issues listed below.

All answers in the voter’s guide were submitted directly by the candidate and have not been edited by the League of Women Voters, except for necessary trimming if an answer exceeded character limits. Spelling and grammar have not been corrected. Publication of candidates’ statements and opinions is in the public service interest only and should NOT be considered an endorsement. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.

Information on other state, county and local primary races can be found at Vote411.org.

Why are you running for election?

Kenneth Wayne Hoskins:

There are a number of reasons I’m running for City Commissioner of the 3rd Ward, but the main reasons are to bring about change and solutions regarding public safety. Collaborate with community members, city officials and police to make our neighborhoods safer and increase engagement and trust. I want to address the housing shortage by increasing supply, focusing on affordability and home ownership. As one of four signatories to a 9 1/2 acre project in the Boston Square/Oakdale neighborhood, I’m already helping bring minority-owned businesses into our community. I want to increase support for minority-owned businesses and economic development, especially in the already underfunded 3rd Ward. And finally, when it comes to education and employment, making Grand Rapids a place where people want to live, learn, work and stay by creating a community where everyone can thrive and have equal access and opportunity. .

Kelsey Perdue:

I was born and raised in the Third Ward of Grand Rapids and have a personal commitment to this city and this community. Running for office is an extension of my lifelong commitment to public service and our city. I enthusiastically donated my time, my treasures and my talent to make Grand Rapids a great place to live, work and play for all.

Working for many years on issues like housing, education, and public safety, the importance of the decisions of elected leaders at the local level came up time and time again. I was encouraged by my peers to “step up” and get started once I started speaking more publicly about local issues at least 8 years ago.

When the community asks you to step in, it’s important to listen. I pledge to continue working for a thriving Third Ward that is safe, secure and strong.

My qualifications, my focus on equity and my enthusiasm have prepared me to lead effectively. I, Kelsey Perdue, am passionate, prepared, and have a plan for the Third Ward. That’s why I run.

What is the biggest challenge facing the office you are looking for? How are you going to fix it?

Kelsey Perdue:

Grand Rapids offers quality services that attract business, harness resources and engage residents. Yet we face a housing crisis, security issues and inequitable economic development.

Public safety is a challenge in which, as a victim of armed violence, I am personally invested. There are many things that make a community safe and unsafe, such as: housing, economic security, police-community relations, environment and nutrition. I take a holistic approach to security, investing in prevention as well as smart policing and accountability.

Inclusive economic development is another challenge. Many Third Ward business districts are destroyed and many residents struggle to make ends meet. We need to support local development, activate public spaces and include everyone in our growing prosperity. I will attract partnerships, target resources and support the community to find concrete solutions to our most pressing problems.

Kenneth Wayne Hoskins:

There are a number of pressing issues facing residents of Granda Rapids, specifically 3rd Ward, but perhaps the most difficult would be the issue of public safety. I have already started having difficult conversations with the leaders of the police unions, as well as with the various community leaders. I believe they need reform within the police department, as well as policy and procedural changes. There must also be behavioral changes within the community regarding police-community relations. I believe both parties have to be willing to come together and work on solutions for change to happen.

What strategies would you use to remain responsive and accountable to the public between elections?

Kenneth Wayne Hoskins:

As a former elected official for 8 1/2 years on the Grand Rapids Board of Education, I had then, and still have now an open door policy where I am accessible and transparent. I regularly met with my constituents and received their views and solutions. I brought together three advisory councils, Elders, Millennials and Youth. They will continue throughout my mandate to give me advice and guidance on the problems and solutions to be brought to the commission.

Kelsey Perdue:

I have a reputation for being integrated and involved in the community, and this will not change once elected. A joy to campaign has been speaking to so many residents and organizations in our city and the Third Ward. I rely on their experience and expertise to better understand how issues affect all parts of our community and to identify new solutions. I will continue to look to these leaders and others for input on issues that affect us.

I am committed to finding solutions beyond political talking points. Although I am married to the outcome we envision, I am not committed to one process over another. For these reasons, I will remain flexible and open to new ideas, contributions and criticism. I do this by remaining open to input from diverse stakeholders, leading with curiosity, and asking good questions.

More personally, I’m building a support team of people I trust and have known for many years to keep me grounded in the values ​​and beliefs that got us to this job in the first place.

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