BY AJ TRAGER
KALAMAZOO – Erin Knott, Michigan State Director for Enroll America, has announced her candidacy for the 2015 Kalamazoo City Commission race.
Knott was born and raised in Chelsea, Michigan and came out as a lesbian when she was just 12 years old. Approaching 40, the Western Michigan University graduate of criminology worked in crime prevention post-college, looked into public safety and worked for community development by organizing funding resources for neighborhoods across the state.
After the marriage amendment of 2004, Knott backed out of community development work. She has since gotten involved in Enroll America, leading the Michigan team of roughly 4,000 staff and volunteers who connect with the state at large.
Knott has nearly 20 years of neighborhood and issue organizing experience. She has spent the breadth of her career working on social and economic justice.
“Equality for all residents of Kalamazoo is at the heart of my campaign. As a member of the commission, I will work to ensure that the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance is working for members of the LGBTQ community,” Knott explained.
“I will also examine hiring policies across city departments for racial bias, examine city policies and their impact on communities of color and find new ways to connect communities of color with city resources,” she adds. “Finally, I would champion policies that ensure pay equity among our city’s workforce, and work to eliminate the earnings gap that is experienced by women in the workforce.”
She previously served as the Michigan Political Director for America Votes and Deputy Director for Michigan Citizen Action. While at Michigan Citizen Action, Knott was afforded the opportunity to work with members of Congress, the state legislature and volunteer teams across the state. Knott has forged and strengthened collaborative efforts with advocacy organizations, labor unions, student groups, communities of color, faith-based organizations and the LGBT community by working in coalitions across all levels.
Her early career began in Kalamazoo at the Vine Neighborhood Association as the Crime Prevention Organizer. Knott went on to spend eight years with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. While at LISC, Knott connected residents, business owners and other stakeholders with resources to revitalize Kalamazoo’s urban neighborhoods and to improve quality of life.
“It’s time for me to utilize my professional skills to impact my community. Getting involved civically is important to me as I train grassroots activists each day to share their skills and talents in their own neighborhoods or communities. It is time that I too take this step and do more locally to shape public policy,” Knott said.