Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Incumbent Democrat Byrum, Republican Kelly win MSU trustee seats

November 10, 2016
Members of the MSU Board of Trustees listen to Stephen Hsu answer a question during a meeting of the MSU Board of Trustees on Sept. 6, 2016 in the Administration Building.
Members of the MSU Board of Trustees listen to Stephen Hsu answer a question during a meeting of the MSU Board of Trustees on Sept. 6, 2016 in the Administration Building. —
Photo by Emilia McConnell | The State News

Trustee Byrum has been elected to return after serving an eight-year term. She told The State News she’s most proud of her work on the Energy Transition Plan at MSU, which cleared the university from burning coal last April. She said she wanted to continue fighting for accessible college for all students and being an advocate for student issues.

“My number one goal and priority at Michigan State University is to make sure that we keep the university accessible to students from all walks of life,” Byrum said. “Part of accessibility is affordability. It means holding the line on tuition increases, and allowing other creative ways to look at accessibility.”

Byrum said the campus has a lot of work to do in advocacy.

“I support inclusion, and we still have work to do on inclusion,” Byrum said. “We have work to do on relationship violence, on sexual abuse. It’s a work-in-progress on campus.”

Kelly will take Democratic incumbent Diann Woodard’s seat. Kelly, a lawyer based in Clarkston, said he kept

tuition costs low at his previous role serving on the Oakland Community Colle

“I’ve been serving on municipal boards for a long time,” Kelly said. “I think that the number one priority of any for any board is formulating a good, solid and fair budget. From the budget, everything else flows.”

Kelly wants to stick to the platforms he campaigned on.

“I love the university, my kids go there,” Kelly said. “I ran on a platform that my primary goal is to put the focus on the students and to keep MSU accessible and affordable for the students.”

MSU’s Board of Trustees ran a tight race this year, with all four major-party candidates clocking in at just above 20 percent of votes. Kelly and Byrum both finished with just one or two-percent margins over their fellow Republican, William Deary, and Democratic, Woodard, candidates. No third party candidates were able to garner more than two percent of the vote.

The past eight years were Woodard’s first and only term with the MSU Board of Trustees. An MSU alumna, she told The State News she voted “no” on every proposed tuition hike in her term. She will leave the Board of Trustees Jan. 1, 2017.

Deary, a Michigan businessman, co-founded Great Lakes Caring Home Health and Hospice with his wife, a registered nurse, in 1994. He graduated from MSU, and told The State News he was running on a platform of affordability for Michigan students.

Byrum, an MSU alumna, said she’s excited to pick up her second term. She said wants to get to know the new deans MSU has appointed to colleges, and said she’s looking forward to making the university better. She’s a “lifelong” Spartan, she said.

“I want to thank (students) for their vote,” Byrum said. “They turned out and they participated in this election.”

Byrum will begin her second term and Kelly will start his first on Jan. 1, 2017.

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