Amanda Bernés
​​ "The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today"
- Franklin
Delano Roosevelt

Lansing City Council - 4th Ward

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   Having positive parental role models taught me the values of social justice through civil rights and the importance of ensuring safe work environments through code compliance. These values encouraged me to become active in my community and explore the world around me. At a young age, I was fortunate to learn from a variety of experiences such as living in other countries and being challenged with different cultural perspectives. Attending good public schools such as, Union High School (Grand Rapids), Central Michigan University (BSW), and Michigan State University (MSU), provided me with opportunities to become more involved with the community and to continue to travel to experience other communities. My ROTC experience taught me the need for discipline and perseverance. Governmental organizations, organized labor, and private companies can only benefit from listening to one another. We all deserve fair and safe housing, clean water, jobs that pay a living wage, and an attitude of inclusion, rather than exclusion.

     I am
because I believe that  Lansing has

an incredible wealth of
unrealized, untapped, and unsupported potential, that I
would love to help our people
share with each other. 

"It takes as much

energy to wish as it does to plan"​

As a graduate from Michigan State University with a Master's in Social Work and within my various roles as a helping professional I have been gifted with an inclusive perspective that allows me to understand the root cause of many situations and this has given me a desire to positively impact systemic barriers. I’ve found community engagement and discovering others’ stories helps us act with more compassion. Effective and supportive laws can promote community involvement and allow us to feel free enough to move just beyond our comfort zone to not only explore the world around us, but also dare to advocate for others and help create solutions that benefit the entire community.

  ​~ Eleanor Roosevelt
When I decided to run for city council, I made the commitment to be a voice for the people of Lansing. That commitment has guided every aspect of my campaign, starting with the way I chose to file. Rather than simply pay the filing fee like most of my opponents chose to do, I chose to seek nomination through petition by knocking on doors and talking with the people of Lansing. I wanted to hear your concerns and focus on addressing what is important and meaningful for us all. By a wide margin, the three most common areas for growth I identified are:

"Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world"

- Howard Zinn


​Transparency ~ Openness

Infrastructure ~ Fix our roads! 
Lansing has a wonderful asset in its diverse population that, if mobilized properly, can provide an incredible wealth of knowledge and limitless solutions. These riches are the cumulative knowledge and power that only a city with such an abundant historical, multicultural, and politically-motivated population can achieve. Our community can be empowered by its citizens and the people who are entrusted with creating and reforming laws to embrace each other’s opinions and priorities, which are rooted in our concerns for the wellness of our society.
In order to affect change within our community and achieve a paradigm shift towards social change, it is fundamentally necessary to include all of the stakeholders who  have varying interests and abilities in the open, honest exchange of ideas.


The people of Lansing demonstrate our passion and our shared commitment to move forward  through revitalization efforts, the inclusion of efforts of majority groups, and parents bringing their children to not only celebrations but marches and indeed protests. We are dedicated to our community and to protecting all of our rights. In order to not squander this commitment to our beloved community, we need to institute methods to protect our rights as citizens, especially those of the less advantaged who are often the citizens least heard, and encourage everyone to serve in every capacity that they can. 
     ​​​​​I believe that the openness of the City Council is inextricably linked to Lansing’s future. The decisions made by the Lansing City Council have lasting effects on the people of Lansing, and as such, their decisions should be in the best interests of our citizenry. Although some politicians and political groups are clamouring for transparency in Lansing, I do not believe that transparency is sufficient.​​

      A good government, one that is truly “of the people, by the people, and for the people” should transcend transparency and achieve openness. Openness means involving the stakeholders in the decision-making process. Transparency is merely the right to be informed; openness is the right to  inclusion, and more importantly, the right to actively participate in the decisions that affect the citizens of our city.


It is imperative that we receive ongoing suggestions and feedback from residents, schoolboard members, teachers, parents, and the students themselves.
Increased  funding to Lansing public schools will improve the quality of education by allowing schools to hire and retain more quality teachers, provide adequate learning resources, and help make Lansing schools more appealing for parents and children in our city.
Quality education opens doors for our children in terms of their future employment opportunities and the continuing financial sustainability of our communities. I would like to help continue growing employment and job-training opportunities for out-of-work and underemployed residents, and retain the skilled people currently emerging from our local colleges, universities, and trade schools. 
I intend to host regular fourth ward meetings to receive suggestions and feedback for community improvement from residents, school board members, teachers, parents, and students themselves. There are many ways to extend and expand on the current educational opportunities available to fourth ward students, to include supporting the growth and renewal of tutoring and extracurricular activities.
It’s not only important to provide funding for public schools, it is important to advocate for post-graduation job opportunities for our high school students, especially for students who currently do not have as many opportunities after graduation.


Lansing is determined to establish a proactive approach to fixing roads. Infrastructure investment can boost ecenomic growth if executed with good foresight by working collaborativey to attain the perspective of citizens, consulting with a well rounded team of expert advisors, by implementing studies, and by adopting models that have proven to be effective. We have the opportunity to radically rethink the form our city government  will assume as it evolves over time. As Lansing adopts energy saving models and environmentally friendly ecosystems throughout the city, we will attract innovative leaders and our citizens will enjoy the savings, healthy living, and beauty that a well thought out and efficient investment in infrastructure would generate.​

Lansing’s infrastructure, especially its roads, could use some attention. We have available the tools, the skills, and the resources to make the necessary changes, we simply need the leadership and the motivation to make them. When the people of Lansing and its leaders take a proactive approach to solving our challenges, we can achieve incredible outcomes!

Just last year, on December 16th, 2016, we removed the last lead service line in Lansing just east of the 4th Ward. In doing so, we became just the second municipality in America to remove and replace all lead service lines from operation. What many people don’t know is that this project started back in 2004, ten years before the Flint water crisis began. Our leaders saw the need to fix a problem and found the resources to make the change. 
There is more work to be done in terms of ensuring that our homes and workplaces are are properly abated and free from all known harmful environmental hazards and I believe we can continue to achieve this goal. This forward-thinking accomplishment required time, investment, sacrifices, and the combined efforts of experts from many fields.

Now we face a similar challenge with our city roads. I intend to make improving Lansing’s infrastructure a priority. I will work with the Lansing Public Service Department, the County Road Commissions, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the community to find the solutions necessary to treat this problem efficiently and effectively.
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Amanda Bernés - 4th Ward City Council
Amanda Bernés for City Council
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