In 2005, when Rosalynn Bliss was first elected to the City Commission, many - particularly in the progressive community - saw her as a rising star in civic leadership. Today, their feelings have been confirmed.
Bliss plans to kick off a campaign “based on creating opportunity for a broader range of citizens,” according to a statement.
“We are on this incredibly positive trajectory, but I think we have more work to do,” Bliss said by phone. “There are many places that are thriving, but there are also places that aren’t.”
Bliss cites her track record of working with constituents in the Second Ward as evidence that she can bring people together on matters that affect the city as a whole.
Bliss's ability to bring people together will be crucial - both in the campaign and as mayor. She already has the support of many people:
- Elected officials Brandon Dillon, Winnie Brinks, Dave Bulkowski, Mary Hollinrake, and Peter MacGregor
- Education leaders, such as State Board of Education member Lupe Ramos-Montigny and a majority of GRPS School Board members
- Many in the African-American community, including former Commissioner Jim White (who served together with Bliss for eight years) and Johannah Jelks.
- Business owners like Tyler Nickerson, Guy Bazzani, and Bill Lewis
- Civic leaders from surrounding communities, such as East Grand Rapids Mayor Amna Seibold and former Lowell Mayor Charles Myers
Given this broad base of support, other would-be contenders may think twice about running. That raises the possibility that she will win a majority in the August primary and therefore be elected automatically.
But for now, suffice it to say that many people have been waiting for today's announcement for years.