Eaton County, Michigan nestles between the State Capitol Lansing and the city of Battle Creek to the south (Cereal Capital of the World). The county is comprised of a diverse range of Michiganders from multi-generational farmers to newly-arrived international students to families of all sizes and compositions.
Although the population is concentrated in the north-eastern corner nearest the Capitol, the Eaton County Commission strives to serve all residents of the County in good faith and their best interests.
Jeanne Pearl-Wright has served as a County Commissioner for 10 (non-consecutive) years. She is a retired public school teacher who continues to serve her community as a Director of Kids Repair Program, a youth-focused nonprofit in Lansing serving ages 10 to 17. She is also a Board member of the Capitol Area Community Services agency which offers Head Start, the Tri-County Office on Aging, and the Michigan Association of Counties HHS Board.
“Helping the people of my county through Human Services is my passion. Even when I wasn’t serving on the Board, I was still working hard to ensure that all families have the resources they need for their best lives,” Pearl-Wright said.
Pearl-Wright’s focus in her tenure on the County Commission has been on public health and education as well. She previously served on the Barry-Eaton District Health Department Board, currently Chairs the Eaton HHS committee, and is a member of Technology and Ways & Means committees.
Pearl-Wright explains, “I know that services to the homeless, youth in prevention programs, veterans and seniors are always an area where change is happening and—at times—not in a good way. I want to be a voice for them as well as amplify their voices.”
People and Budget
The mother of three grown children and one grandson, Pearl-Wright knows how to maximize a budget of a family and a County. She focuses on exploring new ways to increase the life quality of her constituents while protecting public funding.
Pearl-Wright sees this everyday: “In my work with the Commission and other nonprofits, I face the dual challenges of rising expenses and dwindling funding. But we cannot give up trying to find solutions that balances fiscal responsibility with promises kept.”
Delta Township, where Pearl-Wright lives, is anchored economically by large corporations like GM, Meijer, Inc., and Auto-Owners Insurance. However, like a lot of communities around Michigan—and the U.S.—Delta’s population is aging. Services for seniors like housing, healthcare, and recreation are a growing need in this suburban community adjacent to the political hub of the State.
A proud Democrat, Pearl-Wright also dedicates time to supporting other candidates for office around the County.
“Whether I am attending a meeting in someone’s place or helping my local Democratic Party, it’s always motivated from a place of service and continued interaction with local residents. We serve them—not ourselves,” Pearl-Wright added.
Jeanne Pearl-Wright is an Eaton County Commissioner for District 5 which represents a portion of Delta Township.
Women Lead Michigan
Unresponsive, out-of-touch elected officials is a theme seen over and over in Michigan today. Years of gerrymandering, scape goating, and empty promises have seen backward slides in public education funding, slashes to environmental and public health protection agencies, and the stripping of worker rights in the state that birthed the UAW.
But with leaders at the local level like Commissioner Jeanne Pearl-Wright, Michigan has a bright future to lead the nation in middle class growth, talent development, and economic stability.
Learn more about the Women Lead Michigan series.
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