Why am I Running for State Representative?
Without question, the legislative process in Lansing is broken. As County Commissioner, I witnessed first-hand the impact that decisions made in Lansing, some devastating, have had on local communities and vital services. I have spent my entire career bringing people together for the betterment of our community. I am seeking office as a State Representative because the State of Michigan, our communities, schools and businesses can no longer afford the prolonged, non-productive, partisan-fueled dysfunction that exists in our State's Capitol. I will bring to Lansing proven, experienced leadership and an earnest dedication to ensuring the needs of our people and communities are met.
Eric Coleman, an Oakland County Commissioner, has represented the 23rd District since 1996, where he is the longest serving Democrat and African American on the Oakland County Commission.
Commissioner Coleman serves on the County's Personnel Committee as the minority Vice Chairman. One of his successful initiatives was requiring mandatory cultural diversity training for Oakland County supervisors and managers. He has also served as Vice Chairman on the Finance and Personnel Committee and Planning and Building Committee.
Initiatives such as the Food Handling Ordinance (requiring training on safe food handling and hand washing for restaurant managers and employees), the Tattoo Parlor Ordinance and support services for youth aging out of foster care are a few of Eric's initiatives that have not only benefited residents in his district but other Oakland County residents as well.
Supporter of Schools and Education
Eric is a vocal advocate for public education. By becoming the first African American elected to the Southfield School Board, Coleman opened the doors for others who aspired leadership positions in the school system... As a member of the Southfield School Board, Eric served as a President, Secretary, and Treasurer, from 1986 to 1990. He has been a champion for diversity and his progressive leadership demonstrates an unwavering record of inclusion, excellence and community service.
Parks and Recreation
As an Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commissioner in 1999, Coleman recognized the need for more parks in southern Oakland County. He then initiated dialogue between Southfield and Oakland County which resulted in what is now called Catalpa Oaks Park. This beautiful 25-acre park became the first recreation venue in the Southfield area that is owned and operated by Oakland County Parks and Recreation.
Always a strong proponent of economic empowerment, Eric partnered in developing the "Bid & Breakfast Program" to assist small, minority and women-owned businesses in gaining access to government contracts. Recognizing that our economic base in southeast Michigan is strengthened through regional cooperation and collaboration, he has taken a decisive role as Co-Chairman of the Tri-County Economic Development Task Force and member of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). At SEMCOG, Eric serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the 20-member Finance and Budget Committee.
In 2007, Eric was sworn in by the Honorable Dennis Archer to served as President of the National Association of Counties (NACo). NACo is an organization created to ensure that counties have a voice in the nation's capital. NACo has more than 50,000 members, representing more than 3,000 counties and 80 percent of the nation's population. Commissioner Coleman is the first member elected from Oakland County and only the second from the State of Michigan. As President, he was instrumental in NACo's increased membership and increased revenues from $19.6 to $27 million dollars.
During Eric's term on NACo's Executive Committee, he introduced the successful roll out of the CVS/CAREMART prescription drug discount program. This free program provides residents with significant savings on medication. He also led national campaigns to protect children against sexual exploitation and against the growing proliferation of Methamphetamine.
Eric continues to seek new solutions during these challenging economic times as a member of NACo's Executive Committee and Large Urban Caucus.
Eric Coleman has been actively involved in community affairs. Though not a complete list, some of the community affairs in which he is active, include: former Chairperson, City of Southfield's Parent-Youth Guidance Commission; former President, Southfield-Lathrup Village Optimist Club International; founder and former advisor Southfield Youth in Government Club; founding member and former First Vice President, South Oakland County NAACP; founder and former President, Southfield Schools Educational Foundation; former member Southfield Community Foundation; former member, Citizens Advisory Council for Fiscal Responsibility and Policy; former member, Southfield-Lathrup Village Multi-cultural Coalition.
Eric is the proud and humbled recipient of numerous civic awards, including the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award and the State of Michigan Service to the Community Award.
His educational background includes holding a B.F.A. degree from The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Eric Coleman is also an MBA candidate in finance and was awarded a Taubman Fellowship, to attend Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Commissioner Coleman is a business executive and former elementary, high school and community college instructor.
Eric and his wife Judy are proud parents and loving grandparents and have resided in Southfield for 35 years.
"The State of Michigan, our communities, schools and businesses are in the midst of an unparalleled fiscal crisis. We need proven and experienced leadership that is dedicated to putting the needs of our people and communities above partisan and regional bickering."
- Eric Coleman