By: - January 16, 2019 12:38 am

Sheldon Neeley

State Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) has been re-elected to chair the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) for the 2019-20 session.

Karen Whitsett

Neeley was first elected chair in January 2017, following a stint as the caucus’ first vice chair during the 2015-2016 legislative session.

“We’re moving forward in a positive and unified way, tackling the challenges of our urban communities and working toward a better quality of life for all Michiganders in the areas of criminal justice reform, education, health disparities and clean water, in particular,” Neeley said.

Other MLBC members elected as officers are:

  • Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit), executive vice chair
  • Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit), first vice chair
  • Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), second vice chair
  • Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit), secretary
  • Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), treasurer
  • Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), historian
  • Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit); and Rep. Cynthia A. Johnson (D-Detroit), chaplain
Leslie Love

MLBC has expanded from 23 to 28 members. New districts represented in the caucus are held by Geiss and Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit), as well as Carter, Kuppa, Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden (D-Southfield); Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham); and Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing).

The MLBC was founded in 1976 by the late Morris Hood Jr. of Detroit, a long-serving House member and the first African-American to serve as House Appropriations Committee chair.

Over the years, the caucus has helped to lead the way in establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday in 1985, and the election of Kwame Kilpatrick, the first African-American to serve as House minority leader in 2000.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.