Garlin Gilchrist II

Detroit City Clerk

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Garlin Gilchrist II is a son of Detroit - he lives near Michigan Avenue and the Lodge with his wife Ellen and their three-year-old twins Garlin III and Emily Grace.

The importance of personal service, family, justice, and community was instilled in him at an early age by his parents, Yvonne and Garlin Sr., who both grew up on the west side of the city. They made sure he interacted with Michigan community leaders and heroes like Rev. Dr. Frederick G. Sampson and Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs - people who gave of themselves at every opportunity in the hopes of making someone else’s life better.

Garlin went on to graduate from the University of Michigan with two degrees from the College of Engineering: one in Computer Engineering, and another in Computer Science. After college, he worked as a Software Engineer at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA, and helped build the fastest growing business in the company’s history, SharePoint, from zero to one billion dollars in revenue in nine months.

While in Washington, he worked on the Obama campaign as a social media manager, organizing and mobilizing more supporters via SMS during the last month of the election than in any other state.

This work inspired him to pursue political organizing fulltime, as a community organizer who knew how to use technology to make sure everyday people had a way to make their voices heard by people with political power. He spent two years at the Center for Community Change as the Director of New Media, and three as the National Campaign Director of MoveOn.org. In 2012, he ran the program that mobilized more than 34,000 volunteers to re-elect President Obama, more than any other organization that wasn’t a labor union.

Building on this powerful track record, in 2014 he felt called to serve his home city, and joined the City of Detroit as the first-ever Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology. He led initiatives across departments and City Council, writing the city’s transparency policy and designing and implementing the city’s first open data portal, and helping to build accountability, transparency, and accessibility into the technology and systems of Detroit government. Some of these innovations included implementing a technology solution to make sure city fire hydrants are regularly inspected and repaired, enabling anonymous police tips via cell phones, and championing the Improve Detroit app.

Garlin Gilchrist been preparing to be Detroit City Clerk for his entire life and career. He’s running now to ensure that every Detroiter can participate meaningfully in our democracy, to work tirelessly to defend voting rights in times of Trump and rampant suppression, and to improve transparency and accountability measures so that everyone’s voices can be heard.

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