Editor’s note: This is sixth in the series of East Lansing City Council candidate profiles by ELi reporters. Eight candidates are vying for three open Council seats in the Nov. 7 election. Check out ELi’s Elections coverage for more profiles. ELi is partnering with the League of Women Voters for a 6:30 p.m. Sept. 14 City Council Candidate Forum. Click here to help ELi and the League formulate questions for the candidates.
Kerry Ebersole Singh moved around a lot as a child and is happy to now call East Lansing her home.
“I went to three different high schools, two middle schools and three elementary schools,” she said in an interview with ELi. “My parents were school teachers and dad moved into administration. I grew up competitive swimming, so we also made a move to make sure I was on a certain team.
“But I’ve lived in East Lansing longer than anywhere else,” Ebersole Singh said. “I bought my first house here in 2003. This is home.”
Ebersole Singh’s background and experience
While Ebersole Singh is making her first run for City Council, she is no stranger to city hall. Her husband of 11 years, Sam Singh, served as East Lansing’s mayor and is now a Michigan Senator.
Ebersole Singh is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Solutions and Engagement Officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation [MEDC]. Her career requires her to work closely with employers and educational institutions, including Michigan State University.
“I have been on a lot of different projects in policy areas,” she said. “Whether it’s the 2020 census and connecting that census count to federal dollars to support schools and essential services for young people, to the talent solutions work, I can listen and learn very quickly. I bring creative solutions to any problem, maybe gamifying STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] and bringing employers in.
“Some of the challenges our community is seeing right now are workforce driven, whether that’s looking at how to stabilize our city staffing and some of the institutional knowledge we’ve lost in recent months, to thinking collectively about our smart and future economic development opportunities, all comes back to how we plan as a community and how we’re attractive to young, innovative people,” Ebersole Singh said.
What she hopes to bring to the City Council
Ebersole Singh’s work with MEDC and as a parent to a first grader inform what she feels she can bring to the Council.
“Anytime you become a parent,” she said, “it’s so central to every decision you make and it very much shapes our public service. Our number one job is to keep him safe and that plays into it.”
It also helped her decide the time was right for her run for Council.
“The moment was recognizing that I still believe that government is here to serve people,” she said. “Wanting to make our local government in service of the people of this community. Recognizing it’s not just experience that people bring, it’s creativity and leveraging opportunities that exist today and collectively. That’s what I bring and I think there’s a moment of need for that right now.”
Ebersole Singh’s top priorities
When asked about her goals as a would-be Council member, she reiterated helping the city through this time of transition.
“Stabilizing our city government, our staffing,” Ebersole Singh said. “Clearly, we’ve been through a lot of turnover in recent months.
“But also supporting smart economic development. I know over the years, whether it’s the new density built downtown, I would love to see additional local businesses represented downtown,” she said. “When we talk about the future and wanting to be a community that draws young, innovative talent across the globe, I think we have tremendous assets when it comes to our arts, culture and green spaces. Whether we can expand tree planting, sustaining or growing some of the unique festivals and cultural amenities is really important for the community and quality of life.”
“This is a really exciting opportunity to forge the East Lansing of the future,” she said.
Editor’s note: The order of publication of the East Lansing City Council candidates profiles was determined by names being put in a hat and randomly drawn. The order the names were drawn is the order the profiles are running in ELi.