Emily’s Story

Rick Stivers survived a 2006 heart transplant and walked his daughter Emily down the aisle in June 2008.

Back in 2005, I quit my job. I gave up a bright, sunny apartment and moved into my parents’ dark, semi-finished basement, cluttered with musty boxes of old toys and records. I had no healthcare, no income, and no idea how I was going to pay my student loan debt. And I was scared.

I didn’t have a choice. My dad was sick, waiting for a heart transplant, and needed 24/7 care. The cost of nursing, or a nursing home, was way beyond what my parents could afford, and my mom’s employer-provided health insurance was keeping my dad alive. So I went a year with no insurance, myself, to give my dad the care he needed.

Too many people in our community have to make these kinds of sacrifices. Healthcare costs are staggering. Student loan debt is crippling. And the lack of consideration and benefits for full-time family caregivers — who are usually women — impoverish families.

At first, I felt defeated, as though my young life was already over. But I remembered my core purpose: to lift others up. I researched what I could do, working from home, to help disadvantaged people in my community. And I started my own credit consulting business, helping hundreds of families with subprime mortgages keep their homes even as the housing bubble burst.

Emily, Jason, and AJ at the 2017 Women’s March in Lansing, MI

Eventually, my dad got his heart transplant, and I went back to school for my master’s degree in Public Policy. In total, I have spent 15 years in the public sector, fighting poverty, helping young people build the social and emotional skills they need to overcome obstacles, and most recently, serving as vice chair on Meridian Township’s Zoning Board of Appeals. I am a wife, and the mother of a wonderful and mischevious toddler, and my family has made our permanent home in Ingham County.

After the 2016 election, I realized I needed to take my activism to the next level. Faced with our urgent community needs to fix our roads, protect our marginalized populations, and make smart investments in renewable energy, running for office quickly changed from an idea in the back of my head to a pressing priority.

I hope to be elected Ingham County Commissioner for District 11 because I have the ideas, the passion, and the calling to make our community better.