GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The three new Grand Rapids city commissioners were sworn in on Wednesday.
First Ward Commissioner Drew Robbins, Second Ward Commissioner Lisa Knight and Third Ward Commissioner Kelsey Perdue were all sworn in. Grand Rapids Public Library commissioners Sheila Garcia, Kristin Kopec and Lauren Woolsey were also sworn in, along with City Comptroller Max Franz.
The three city commissioners will start their four-year terms on Jan. 1, 2023.
Robbins said he wants to listen to the community.
“I think in order to be effective in my role, my biggest priority is learning, listening to the residents, listening to the full-time city staff and understanding what exactly the major issues are, and from there I’m hoping for … solutions,” he said.
Both Knight and Perdue said housing is one of their biggest priorities, as the current commission has discussions about the city’s homeless population.
“We have a lot of issues around housing and homelessness, around transportation and safety issues,” Knight said. “I want to make sure that I’m hearing what they have to say to bring it back to the city and hearing what the city has to say, and get some cohesion and have conversations that may be difficult, but we can work through things if we try to work together.”
Perdue said she’s looking forward to working with community groups.
“I think housing is one of the biggest issues that we need to work through over the next several years,” Perdue said. “I’ve heard that commitment and that sentiment echoed amongst the current commission makeup as well as all the newly-elected commissioners. So I’m looking forward to working with them, with advocacy groups, with education groups, with nonprofits, all the major stakeholders. Housing is a quality of life issue, it is a health issue, it is a safety issue, it is a business issue, so I think there’s a lot of synergy and recognition of the importance of this, and a lot of public and political appetite to tackle it together.”