Irene Cahill was sworn in as the new Ingham County Commissioner for Ingham County District 9 on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
Cahill will now serve a significant section of East Lansing: voting precincts 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and a portion of precinct 9. The district includes sections of the Bailey and Old Whitehills neighborhood, a portion of what is called “East Village,” and MSU’s main campus. (See the Ingham County District 9 map here.)
Public service is nothing new for Cahill, who currently serves her local community as a board member on the Bailey Community Association, a commissioner on the City of East Lansing’s Housing Commission, and a board member of the Capital Area Housing Partnership.
“I’m used to being busy,” Cahill told ELi when talking about her new position. But, she explained, her public service and professional career have made her aware of what the County Commission does.
Professionally, Cahill is a Forestry Supervisor for the City of Lansing. She told ELi that she oversees the planting and removal of trees, runs the three municipal cemeteries in Lansing, and inspects trees.
Cahill grew up in the Bronx, New York, and attended an agricultural program at John Bowne High School in Queens. She later attended Farmingdale State College on Long Island, New York. Today, she is a member of several conservation and horticultural organizations and brings her expertise to her neighborhood by helping with her community garden.
As a County Commissioner, Cahill is most excited to engage the community by letting them know what the County Board of Commissioners does and how to utilize its services. Cahill told ELi that during her first week in her new role, she realized that very few people attended meetings and even fewer spoke.
Cahill wants constituents to know who their County Commissioner is and pointed out all the County services and programs that East Lansing residents rely on; from the Capital Area Transit Authority, to the trails system, and to other programs supported by County millages.
For now, Cahill will continue to serve on the boards and committees that her predecessor had served on, but Cahill, in the long term, would like to focus on work-force development to help workers turn jobs into careers.
Thinking of her own area of expertise, she imagined a program where landscapers could attend courses to become certified arborists. She hopes other programs for other areas could come to fruition as well.
Cahill was appointed to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners after Erin Graham, who was elected in November 2020 to serve a two-year term starting in January 2021, resigned effective Sept. 27 for personal reasons.