Raising a daughter in a low-income household, Kelly Collison has learned first-hand the cold, unforgiving struggle of surviving in an economy that prioritizes corporate profit over people. Kelly knows that, contrary to the narrative that has persistently dominated American life, simply “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is an unrealistic option for millions of people.
“For decades, the ‘American Dream’ has been associated with homeownership, but you can’t even think about making a down payment on a house when you can hardly afford to pay rent,” Collison said. “How can you plan healthy meals for your family when you can barely afford to buy food? So many folks, especially in Lansing, are caught in a vicious cycle of poverty that many are locked into from the moment they’re born.”
Fed up with a system that insulates the wealthy and powerful from the rest, Kelly is running for state representative to advocate policy she believes will help reduce social and economic inequality. When asked what she thinks will most benefit Michiganders, Collison said, “It’s time that all workers earn a living wage and $15 an hour is a good starting point. I want our state government to stop expanding prisons and the police state so we can reinvest in quality public education. We also need to guarantee medical coverage to everyone as a human right and that means adopting a universal healthcare system.”
All candidates promise change, but what sets Collison apart is how she fundraises. “I’m not seeking or accepting any support from the corporations and dark money groups that buy every other politician,” Collison said. “This is a grassroots campaign that relies on individual contributions and volunteers. As a public official, I want to remain accountable to the public, not wealthy donors.”
As Collison strives to maintain her integrity, she is running against more established candidates, one of whom is a former Republican legislator. Nonetheless, Collison is unshaken. “Through all of history, every step toward a more just society has been challenged by those who say we’re being overly wishful or ambitious,” Collison said, “but we always win once we stop leading with what we’re told is possible and start leading with what’s right.”