Colleen Turk, a Marion township resident, has announced that she is running for the Democratic nomination for the 47th House seat in Livingston County. Turk is the first Democrat to file for the 47th House District, which includes the townships of Cohoctah, Conway, Deerfield, Handy, Hartland, Howell, Iosco, Marion, Oceola, Tyrone and Unadilla, plus the city of Howell and the village of Fowlerville.
“We’re facing complex issues that can’t be solved with the same old one-sided ideas,” Turk stated. “And people are tired of feeling hatred from all sides of the spectrum. Michigan needs candidates whose problem solving can be equally innovative and inclusive.”
The most critical issues facing the Livingston county area, Turk said, are high-quality schools and affordable, effective health care. “Our elected officials in Lansing just passed legislation to give millage money to for-profit charter schools. But along the way they denied common-sense checks and balances that were introduced, like compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. So now we’re sharing public money with for-profit corporations that have no responsibility to answer the public’s questions at a time when Michigan student achievement is nationally ranked in the bottom third of the country.”
“When it comes to health care, we can’t make citizens wait for the mess at the federal level to be corrected. We need to be actively researching initiatives that can be undertaken by our state in pilot programs with an eye for expanding beyond that. Senior citizens and young families need realistic solutions right now.”
Incumbent state Rep. Hank Vaupel, a Fowlerville Republican, is someone for whom Turk “has a lot of respect,” she said, “but we have different ideas about what’s best for our area and our state.”
Turk grew up in Cohoctah township and attended Howell Public Schools throughout her childhood. She is a 1999 graduate of Howell High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and German from the University of Michigan in 2003. Last year she earned a Master of Nonprofit Administration from Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Her studies included program design and evaluation, employment and tax law, accounting, and finance.
Turk is an IT professional with experience in project management, academia, and health care employed at Sparrow Health in Lansing. She is the founder of Citizens for Unity, a community group focused on facilitating discussions, learning different perspectives, and building consensus on actions needed to change our community for the better. Turk also was instrumental in launching the youngest chapter of First Robotics in Howell Schools – the First LEGO League Jr.
Turk’s husband, James, also attended Howell Public Schools and now leads building maintenance at Pepsi Bottling Group in Howell. They have been married 11 years, have two children, and moved back to Livingston county in 2016 after residing in Buchanan, Michigan for seven years.