Quick Take: Simeon Switzer, Kent County Department of Veterans Affairs

Posted on September 10, 2014

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As we prepare for the ELGL & ICMA joint event at the ICMA Conference, attendees describe the current state of local government, their mentors, ways to strengthen local government, and of course, their dream six-pack. Raise Your Hand If You’re Going “Back to the Future” with ELGL and ICMA.

Simeon Switzer


Kent County Department of Veterans Affairs

Connect: LinkedIn

1. Name your career mentors.

Two individuals come to mind.

First, Dr. Neal Buckwalter.  He is my current advisor and involved with our ICMA Student Chapter at Grand Valley State University.

Second, Mr. Frank Peterson.  He is the current City Manager for Muskegon and has been a big advocate of our ICMA program and a personal encouragement for my current career goals.

2. Describe the current state of local government.

As a concerned citizen of Grand Rapids, it is saddening to see how disenfranchised residents are of their local government.  As government on the national scale is shrouded with deceit and mistrust, it is the responsibility of local government to engage with and earn the trust of local residents, as change is obtainable on a local scale.

3. What is one thing local government professionals can do to strengthen local government? 

Local Government officials must reach out and interact with the local people. Take public transit to work, eat at local residents, interact with street vendors.  Show a presence and concern for the well being of the residents.

4. What would you find in my ideal 6 pack?

My favorite beer has been Yuengling Traditional Lager.  A close second to that would be Fat Tire Amber Ale from New Belgium Brewing.  I also enjoy Oberon and Two Hearted Ale from Bells Brewing Company.

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