To get work done in government and be an effective public servant requires one to build trust, lead, and work with those you might not agree with while never compromising your values.
It's about building consensus. It takes leadership. Penelope's is simply unmatched.
It's why she was able to build strong working relationships with both Democrats and Republicans to get things done and has earned the support of so many current and former Ingham County Commissioners and other elected officials.
Penelope brings everyone to the table, has a discussion about goals, listens to others, and then creates an action plan to get the job done. It's how she was able to bring two transformative projects to Ingham County - the Parks and Trails millage and the Animal Control millage. Below are just four examples of Penelope's tireless advocacy and unmatched leadership that led to real results for Ingham County residents.
Parks and Trails Millage
Penelope pictured with a newly constructed bridge on East Lansing's Northern Tier Trail, an improvement funded through Penelope's work with the Parks and Trails Millage.
Ingham County's vast network of trails were in dire need of repair and funding. When this issue was brought to the county board, Penelope worked with a diverse group of current and former county commissioners to author the ballot language, bring the millage to the board for a vote, and get it passed. Once voters approved the millage, Penelope worked with other commissioners to create an equitable process to get the funds distributed across the county in a fair way that current commissioners are still using today. Penelope's work on the millage has brought over $20 million in investment, improvement, and expansion to the trail system including new connections, repaired pathways and bridges, and new wayfinding signage in East Lansing, Meridian Township, and Williamston.
Potter Park Zoo Accreditation
Penelope's work supporting Potter Park Zoo has led to millions of dollars in investment and improvements annually.
Penelope worked to pass the countywide zoo millage that allowed Potter Park Zoo to expand educational opportunities for students, update infrastructure, improve pathways, repair and expand exhibits, and improve quality of life and care of the animals within the facility. This millage provides nearly $3 million of funding annually to the zoo and supports dozens of jobs. Without passage of this millage, PPZ likely would have lost its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Animal Control Millage
Penelope cutting the ribbon at the June 2019 grand opening of Ingham County's new animal shelter.
Penelope was a long time volunteer with the Ingham County Animal Shelter. The shelter building she volunteered in, located in Mason, was dirty, inefficient, unwelcoming, and outdated. Because of its age it couldn't provide the services or care a modern shelter in a large county should. Penelope took action, submitting ballot language, building consensus among her peers, presenting the millage to appropriate committees, and getting it placed on the ballot. Then, she ran a countywide educational campaign to inform voters about the need for this new facility. It passed overwhelmingly and a $7 million, state of the art facility opened in 2019. Now county residents have access to increased services and operating hours, more animal control officers, and a better experience for both humans and pets.
Hawk Island Snow Park
Hawk Island's first-of-its-kind urban snow park is a regional destination for families.
As a Park's Commissioner, Penelope assisted in the creation of the nation’s first urban snow park located at Hawk Island Park in Lansing. This unique attraction serves as a destination freestyle terrain park and sledding/tubing hill enjoyed by families across mid-Michigan.