Who Is Running?

This post will be updated as the situation changes regarding the 2024 municipal elections.

Even Year Elections & Term Limits

2024 is not only an election year it is the first election where the impact of term limits and even year voting will be fully realized. Grand Rapids adopted term-limits via public referendum in 2014. City Commission elections were changed via public referendum from odd to even years in 2022; city commissioners who's terms would have ended in 2021 were granted a bonus year, terms extended to 2022. The mayor's term which would have ended in 2023 was extended to 2024.

The term limits language is:

no person shall be eligible for election as City Commissioner if they have served as City Commissioner for two terms, and no person shall be eligible for election as Mayor if they have served as Mayor for two terms.

The following current elected officials cannot seek reelection in 2024 due to term-limits:

  • Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, elected 2015 and 2019 [odd year w/bonus].
  • Jon O'Connor (1st Ward), elected in 2015 & 2019 [odd year w/bonus]

Current commissioners ending their first term who will be eligible to run for a second term in 2024:

  • Milinda Ysasi (2nd Ward), elected to first term in 2019 [odd year w/bonus]
  • Nathaniel Moody (1st Ward), appointed to vacancy in July 2018, elected to first full term in 2019 [odd year w/bonus].

Commissioners Drew Robbins (1st Ward), Lisa Knight (2nd Ward), and Kelsey Perdue (3rd Ward) were all elected in 2022 and are serving their first terms ending in 2026. All three will be eligible to run for a second term in 2026. In the 2022 election both Lisa Knight and Drew Robbins defeated incumbent candidates; Joe Jones and Kurt Reppart, respectively. Kelsey Purdue was elected to an open seat, the incumbent being ineligible due to term limits.

City Manager Government

Grand Rapids is a "City Manger" government. This means that the day to day operations of the city are managed by a City Manager who is hired by the city, selected by whomever is on the City Commission at the time a City Manager vacancy occurs. Yes, this means that one of the most powerful roles in city government is not elected by the residents of the city. As the non-elected City Manager establishes the City Commission agenda this creates a strange system where those running for or holding office neither advance policy ideas nor do they have much if any incentive to [publicly] state their policy positions - - - leaving citizens with little motivation to support or oppose candidates. This is reflected in voter participation in city elections.

In my precinct (Ward #2, Precinct 31) in 2022 - not a presidential election year - 37.4% of voters voted for neither Lisa Knight or Joe Jones. Lisa Knight won the race with 44.6% of the precinct, vs. Joe Jones 18%. The second place candidate was beat, in terms of percentage, by voters who didn't bother.

Declared Candidates

The deadline to file to run for mayor of Grand Rapids is April 23rd, 2024.

Mayor

  • David LaGrand. Founder of Wealthy Street Bakery, principle in Long Road Distillers, previous Grand Rapids City Commissioner, currently represents the 75th district in the Michigan House of Representatives.

  • Senita Lenear. Former Third Ward City Commissioner, through December 2022. Served on the Grand Rapids Public Schools board.

    • Candidate Website
    • Endorsements: 2nd Ward Commissioner Milinda Ysasi
    • Policy Positions: fully funding the Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) Task Force.
    • News:

What will they do? It is not looking promising so far.

LaGrandLenear
Housing "think creatively" 🙄🙄🙄 "As mayor, commissioner Lenear will forge relationships with neighboring cities and municipalities to broaden the housing discussion into a regional discussion." 🙄

"regionalism": redefining a problem as someone else's problem as a distraction from the failure to use the powers one has to address the problem.

Transportation not mentioned 😞Cooling and heating sources at bus shelters
Climate Change "We need to invest city resources wisely to save money and protect our environment" 🙄 The candidate is interesting in learning about the plans the city has adopted. 🙄
Economic Development Some word salad about "smart investment" 🙄 Expansion of the city's Corridor Improvement Districts

1st Ward Commissioner

2nd Ward Commissioner

  • Melinda Ysasi, incumbent 2nd Ward Commissioner.
    • Candidate Website
    • Endorsements: Grand Rapids' Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, 2nd Ward Commissioner Lisa Knight, ... candidate website contains an endorsement registration form and corresponding list.
    • Policy Positions: none

3rd Ward Commissioner




Other Races

Michigan House of Representatives

  • District #80:
  • District #81: Stephan Wooden
  • District #82:
  • District #83:
  • District #84:

Related:

Michigan Senate

  • District #29 (southern Grand Rapids):
  • District #30 (northern Grand Rapids):

Related: