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Who’ll be the next mayor of Grand Rapids? Little-known millennial first to throw hat in ring


Voters approved term limits in November; so Grand Rapids will get a new mayor this year.

The first candidate to announce he’s in the running is Jared Funk. The 24-year-old may not have a job right now. He may not have a college degree either. But he’s got spirit.

“It’s the ideas and inspiration and enthusiasm of youth that I think the city really requires at this time and that it can be tempered by those who have more experience and who are wiser and more saged [sic] in politics and in governing,” Funk said.

Funk grew up in Grand Rapids. He believes his generation needs to get more active in politics. Funk has volunteered for a few political campaigns, including former governor Jennifer Granholm, President Obama and current Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.

“I take the campaign very seriously,” Funk said when asked how realistic he is about winning the race.

“I may not have all the qualifications that people would typically look for in a politician. But then people’s track records with politicians haven’t exactly paid off in many areas,” he said.

He says he once worked as a salesman for the Grand Rapids Symphony.

“I pretty much have done sales my entire life and politics is pretty much just that; it’s sales. Selling yourself, your ideas and how you think you can better the world is exactly what politics is,” Funk said.

Funk said if elected, job creation, particularly bringing manufacturing jobs back to Grand Rapids would be his priority.

Funk has to collect a total of 50 signatures to get on the ballot.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.