EAST LANSING, Mich. — After being appointed to fill a vacant position on the East Lansing City Council, Dana Watson is running for one of three open seats.
“I was appointed last year, I will be celebrating my one year anniversary in August,” Watson said.
She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor of arts in communications and a master's in human and social services. Watson moved after graduation but knew East Lansing was home.
“I went to Michigan State, moved, lived in a couple different places and then wanted to come back here because I loved the schools,” Watson said.
During the day, Watson works for the Ingham County Health Department as a health educator and is involved in several boards and commissions in the area.
“My first city of East Lansing group was the Human Rights Commission, then I went on to the Planning Commission. I was also part of East Lansing emerging leaders program," Watson said. "I’m a part of the Davies Project, I’m also on the Capital Area Housing Partnership board.”
Watson is also part of the East Lansing Public School District's first equity team through Marble Elementary School.
“I always say if I was doing any work or any volunteer or community activism it would be equity focused,” Watson said.
Simón Perazza is the vice president of the equity team and said Watson is a reliable member.
“She’s at every meeting, she’s always on point in terms of the agenda and the items we’re trying to cover," Perazza said. "She brings some really important and valuable experience working for the health department.”
As a parent, Perazza said, he's grateful to have Watson in the area.
“I find Dana’s presence in our community to be an extreme blessing, for all of us," said Perazza. "The families, the kids and the staff in our schools.”
Watson said the issues she wants to focus on include the environment.
“We’re really progressive with our environmental decisions and that’s exciting to see but just uplifting that some more,” Watson said.
Along with public safety.
“Making sure that our public safety is effective for our community and all of our community," Watson said.
And affordable housing.
“Families get turned away from East Lansing School districts for school of choice options," Watson said. "It’s an inconvenience to have to transport your child and live farther away than the community and so it makes me think about housing and affordability.”
Watson said serving on several different boards in the community gives her an insight into the community.
“I’ve also learned to understand our business and to value the input of the folks that are going to be impacted,” Watson said.
She wants to work towards improving the city as it comes out of the pandemic.
“Being able to make the right decisions to keep us going and hope that things get better and that we remain safe and well,” Watson said.
Watson is running against Chuck Grigsby, Daniel Bollman, Adam DeLay and George Brookover for one of two four-year seats.
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