Colleen (Kelly) Turk is the kind of person you want on your side in a fight. Admittedly, not the physical kind of fight! - but the kind of fight when you face a problem that people say is impossible to fix. When others have given up. When the arguments spin around each other but no real path forward coalesces. That’s when Colleen steps in. With a sharp intellect, a sense of humor, and a skeptical personality, Colleen asks targeted questions, diffuses tensions, defines the real problems, and uncovers practical and specific next steps for moving forward.
Colleen has displayed these skills in her career in academia and health care, and she also has taken proactive roles in our community. When Howell needed a parent to organize the youngest division of the FIRST robotics program, Colleen jumped in to organize two teams the first year and five teams the next. When we were still reeling from the tragedy in Charlottesville and accusations of racism started to fly in our area, Colleen put together the first Citizens for Unity event to speak against racism. She did it again in January when hateful flyers were spread in Howell. Under Colleen’s leadership, the Citizens for Unity group is continuing to plan non-partisan events to facilitate a more cohesive community where diversity of both heritage and ideas is appreciated rather than attacked.
Colleen graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science and German. In 2017 she earned a Master of Nonprofit Administration from nationally ranked Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Why should this matter when you're selecting your next House representative? Because in her studies, Colleen studied the foundations of our political system. She was one of those nerdy students who relished tax and employment law, and she learned that she had a knack for analyzing and interpreting policy. Her studies included how to implement new programs, determine measurable outcomes, and design controls that will indicate when a program is going astray. Along the way through her studies and her career, Colleen developed connections with other concerned citizens who are working in education, mental health, government, and substance abuse recovery to name a few.
These connections with honest, hard-working citizens in public service are critical for local leaders like Colleen - because the best ideas don't exist in a vacuum. The best ideas come when you consider perspectives from experts, from people outside the field, and from people who completely, 100% disagree with what you think. If we ignore opposing views when we're crafting solutions, we will never find all the flaws in our reasoning. One of the greatest problems we face in government today is the winner-take-all attitude that incorporates only the ideas from political victors. Top-performing companies know that diverse perspectives drive the most innovative, successful ideas. Our government needs to start doing the same thing. We face difficult problems that can't be solved with simple, one-sided ideas.
But real improvements in government are not just about good ideas. Heck, if legislators could be successful based solely on good ideas, Albert Einstein would have been president. Improvements come from driving tough talks among elected officials, public servants (like teachers and police), and citizens, and then negotiating to hash out what we can agree on without settling for a watered-down compromise that doesn't work for anyone.
Those are steep requirements and the role will not be an easy one to fill. But because of her integrity, tenacity, education, and experiences, Colleen Turk is the right candidate to bring your voice to Lansing.