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Community Advocacy Organization

Meet Lori Adams Simon, Candidate for the Lansing City Charter Commission



Courtesy Photo-Lori Adams Simon, MPA, CDM, CTA Candidate for City of Lansing Charter Commission.

 

My name is Lori Adams Simon, candidate for City of Lansing Charter Commission. My purpose has always been to serve others and my community. Because of this, I decided to run for the Lansing City Charter Commission to make a significant contribution to the City of Lansing.


By serving on the Commission, I would be a part of a team that will play a vital role in assessing and revising the city’s governance structure and together through community engagement could implement changes that will shape the future of Lansing for years to come.


I began my public service career in 1990 working for the Michigan House of Representatives as an intern and Legislative Aide for Nelson W. Saunders, District 10 (D) and subsequently became Chief of Staff. I worked for the Michigan Department of Community Health as a Contract Specialist for the Bureau of Medicaid Financial Management for 16 years.


In 2014, I joined Sparrow Health System, and I concluded my tenure there in 2023 as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and Civil Rights Coordinator. I am the President and Principal Consultant for SimonSez Consulting, LLC. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Science and a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University. I earned a certification in Diversity Management in Health Care from the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity & Health Equity and a certification in Leading Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion from Northwestern University.


I have extensive work experience in government and community relations, and I have researched legislation and developed policies and procedures in accordance with federal, state, and local laws. And as a community servant, I have served on various community boards and committees, including the City of Lansing Board of Ethics as President for two years and a member for thirteen years. The foundation of my campaign and service on the commission will be Collaboration, Respect, and Transparency.


I am committed to working collaboratively with the commissioners and city residents for the next three years; I will be respectful to everyone involved in the process, as well as listen respectfully to the diverse perspectives of Lansing residents; and I will demand and foster open and transparent dialogue to ensure that the city’s governance structure reflects the aspirations of Lansing residents. I also understand that representation matters, and I want to represent Lansing especially the 3rd Ward.


The Commission needs members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who have strong interpersonal skills and who are culturally competent. I want to ensure that all Lansing City residents have a voice and that their voices are heard so collectively we can revise the charter in a manner that is equitable for all. As an independent thinker, I will approach the revision process with an open mind. I will be focused on several key areas during the revision process. There are some areas of opportunities where Lansing's government could be more effective, transparent, and accountable and as a Commissioner I would advocate for those improvements.


It will be imperative that everyone involved in the process understands the current charter and thoroughly reviews the existing charter to understand its strengths, weaknesses, and outdated elements. For example, I will be focused on removing unintended biases in the document and making sure that the language in the charter is inclusive. Case in point would be updating the Non-Discrimination and Civil Rights section to be in accordance with state and federal laws.


As a commissioner it will be important to research and analyze current challenges faced by the city of Lansing. And then I would look for areas where the charter can be improved to address those issues. I would actively seek input and listen to the concerns and priorities of the city residents through public hearings, forums, online surveys, and outreach to diverse community groups. During this process clear and transparent communication about the revision process, any proposed changes, and their potential impact must be conveyed and made accessible and understandable to the city residents. Research of cities similar in size as Lansing should be done to see how other cities address similar challenges through their charters and I would seek advice from experts in local government, law, and policy. I would advocate for solutions that represent the best interests of the entire community while fostering collaboration between the commissioners and the community.


Also, it will be important to consider how the revisions will impact the city's growth and development and take into account any costs associated with implementing proposed revisions. By focusing on these areas, I would be contributing to a revision process that is inclusive and well-informed, and the end result will be a more efficient, effective and equitable city charter.



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