Reverend Monique French, leader of the Washington Heights United Methodist Church, said God did not intend for her to limit her interaction with the congregation within the building’s four walls.
Based on this belief, French built relationships within the community before running for office and becoming Calhoun County’s new Second District Commissioner. She was one of her three county commission candidates to run unopposed in the Nov. 9 midterm elections. Her two other nominees were incumbent District 5 Commissioner Derek King and Tommy Miller, who represents District 7.
Mr. French said he decided to run because of his passion for the community and his desire to change it. Her school district includes some of her heights in Washington. Researching the history of the community, she says, revealed that she was once very wealthy.
“We just want it to be a place people are proud to call home again,” says French.
Her neighborhood is bounded by Jackson Street to the west, Wagner Street to the east, Capital Avenue to the south, and Washington Avenue to the north. But the communities she’s talking about involve more than these lines, she says, and will pay attention to what’s happening inside and outside the lines that define District 2. .
Of the voters in her constituency, French says she thinks they were represented by her predecessor. We just need to encourage people to participate. “
In her discussions with the residents of her district, a frequent request to her was to take information back from county board meetings relevant to the community, share it, be their voice, and act on their behalf. Most of the people she heard were middle-aged and older. She is looking for opportunities to speak and listen to young residents, she says.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to serve,” French says of her role as county commissioner.
Representing the people of the district, she said she would continue the work she began three years ago after moving from Saginaw to Battle Creek and becoming the leader of the Washington Heights United Methodist Church. Its work has grown to address the seven elements of each individual’s life: the mental, physical, spiritual, financial, intellectual, professional/entrepreneurial, and environmental domains. Components are part of the Church’s vision and mission, and there are many ways to approach each.
Three days a week, the church provides three hot meals to everyone in the community. These are opportunities to get together over a meal and build relationships, says French. It also provides the Ministry of Heroes, which provides free clothing, household items, and furniture to people in the community.
The slides in the children’s playground area have been improved, the basketball court resurfaced and the nets replaced, according to the French. Outdoor fitness centers and outdoor walking tracks provide safe and comfortable spaces for people to exercise.
“You have to see the whole person. It’s hard to see people hungry. It’s not enough to say, ‘I pray for you.’ you have to feed them. This is the approach God has given us and this is how we address these seven elements. link them. “
Among the initiatives the Frenchman wants her voters and people in her community to take note of is the ‘Recover Our Neighborhood’ project. This includes landfill housing projects, addressing missing middle-income wage earners, adding a variety of housing options, buying and renovating older homes, and helping to fight the plague around Washington Her Heights. Continue removal and beautification work.
The program’s goal is to give residents the opportunity to buy their own homes, rent and rent with options that start building wealth for generations to come, she says.
“We want to restore beauty and vibrancy to the area by providing people with better income opportunities and increasing home ownership,” says French. “This will allow us to close the wealth gap between generations.”
The estimated cost of the project is $15 million, and France is working to identify funding sources.her church received An allotment of $360,000 from the city’s ARPA (American Relief Programs Act) funding pool used for beautification projects such as clearing debris and planting flowers and shrubs.
She says the enthusiasm that brought her to Battle Creek is growing, and joining the county commission will allow her to work for the positive change she knows is possible. .
“Even before I came here, I saw possibilities and possibilities,” says French. “We knew what a great place this would be, and we knew how a beautiful, thriving community could help spur local economies and build a brighter future. Hearing people’s hearts inspired me to become more involved.”