Progressive. Proven. Leader.
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
- Robert Kennedy
My wife Sara is my hero. She was an appointee in the Obama Administration heading up communications for a major federal agency, and also served two high-ranking Democratic Congressman as their communications director. One of the Congressman, Dave Obey of Wisconsin, actually set us up. I worked for the him years prior, and for some reason, he brought us together. Now we are soulmates, or beshert. She’s an unbelievable mother, and a loving and supportive partner.
Asher, named for my dad, and Levi, named in honor of Sara’s great grandmother are our two boys. They are our everything. They are brilliant and charming, just ask their grandparents, Marci and Dave Burch and Keith and Marian McClellan.
My mom was a public-school teacher who today is the Mayor of Oak Park. My sister, Michelle, is a public defender and an absolute inspiration to everyone she meets. I’ve been truly blessed to be surrounded by powerful women my whole life, and a father who loved me and taught me so much despite his challenges and early passing.
I grew up here in a great family. Like many Oakland County families, life wasn’t always easy. When my dad got sick and became disabled from mental illness, we were in a tough financial spot, requiring help with food, clothes and housing at different times. I remember visiting my dad at the hospital and being happy to see him, but confused about what was going on and kind of embarrassed. I remember my mom pulling a Styrofoam cup of coffee across the surface of the table as we waited to see him, the coffee in the cup creating beautiful little waves. We lived in a lovely community, but our grasp on staying there was weak. That was when I first learned what it feels like to be afraid about not having enough money to meet the basic needs of food and housing. That’s why as Treasurer I have dedicated myself to fighting foreclosure and promoting the financial empowerment of every Oakland County resident.
After working my way through undergrad at Michigan State and the University of Michigan, I started on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide to David Obey and Sander Levin, working on gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, school safety, and mental health policy. After working in the nonprofit sector and returning to Michigan, I was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2002, while also attending the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School. I sponsored legislation on stem cell research, the motion picture film credits and drug treatment courts, and chaired the House Democrats Campaign Committee in 2006, the last time Democrats won the majority in the House. In 2008, I had the honor of being the first Democrat elected countywide in 40 years as County Treasurer where our team has worked diligently to fight tax foreclosure, protect property values and secure Oakland County’s financial future. I sit on the boards of several Oakland County non-profits, including Orchards Children and Family Services, Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County and the Michigan Future Problem Solvers.