Two women will head up the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners in the new term. Members elected Democrat Julie Rogers, who’s in her fourth term in the Board, as chair at their meeting last Tuesday night. Tracy Hall, who’s in her second term and is also a Democrat, was elected Vice Chair.
Rogers told Commissioners that she wants to see the county build a new court and administration building, join a lawsuit against opioid makers, and examine the fairness of its criminal justice system. Fighting homelessness, improving the county’s environmental practices, supporting building trade apprenticeships through a “responsible bidder” policy and addressing persistent flooding are also on Rogers’ list.
“My hope is that this Board of Commissioners can come together with a laser focus on what is important for our county. We frankly don’t have time for distractions,” she said.
Hall indicated that, to her knowledge, she’s the first person who’s openly from the LGBTQ community who has served in a leadership role on the commission.
“I am mindful of those who worked to pave the way for someone like me, so I can have a seat up here with all of you,” she said.
Hall and Rogers both said that the Board accomplished many things in the term it just finished. Rogers said that this had happened “in spite of some internal disagreements,” while Hall said that one of her “disappointments” in her first term was the public’s perception of the Commission, which she suggested was underwhelming.
The Democrats picked up two seats on the Kalamazoo County Board in November, giving them a strong majority. They now represent eight out of 11 districts.