Thursday, October 21, 2021

East Lansing City Council Candidates: Adam DeLay

October 4, 2021
East Lansing City Council Candidate Adam DeLay
East Lansing City Council Candidate Adam DeLay —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State alumnus Adam DeLay, one of the youngest candidates in the upcoming East Lansing City Council election, also considers himself the most experienced in public service, as well as the most progressive.

Background

DeLay, 33, is originally from Romulus, Michigan, but moved to East Lansing in 2006 to attend MSU, where he double-majored in journalism, social relations and policy. 

“After that, I bounced around the Lansing area a little bit before winding up back East Lansing,” DeLay said.

During this time, DeLay worked in the state Senate, as well as for Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees in Lansing Township from 2016 to 2019, and now works for the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Over the course of the last two, three, four years, with all of the issues we've been seeing — whether it be racial justice, whether it be COVID, whether it be economic insecurity — one of the reasons I'm running is because I want to address those issues head on, at a local level,” DeLay said.

Main Issues

One of the biggest ways DeLay plans on doing this is by establishing something he calls the Community Services Department.

This department would focus on preventing and remediating things like homelessness, poverty and mental health crises. DeLay proposed reinvesting 25% of the East Lansing Police Department’s operating budget into the Community Services Department.

“Some of those issues that are falling on the police department right now, they're not the best trained, or they don't want to be the ones to handle it,” DeLay said. “My view is, you can take some of their budget, and reinvest into a new department to take those issues off their hands.”

DeLay doesn’t see this as reallocation as defunding public safety, but he said that he isn’t afraid of that phrase. 

“Mental health, homelessness, poverty: those are all public safety issues," DeLay said. "We don’t talk about them like they are, but we should."

DeLay dealt with such public safety issues while working with the governor’s office and speaking with a woman whose employment benefits were late.

A Detroit woman had called the governor's office, and she was falling behind on her bills waiting for unemployment benefits, DeLay said.

The woman threatened her own life over the phone. DeLay’s supervisor asked him if they should send the police.

“This was right after George Floyd," DeLay said. "My answer was, 'Absolutely not,' but the issue is, who are you going to send? Eventually, we resolved that issue by getting them in touch with unemployment and getting them the money they were owed, but there’s no one around at a city level to handle an issue like that.”

DeLay said situations like this call for a new branch of public safety that we are just discovering.

DeLay also wants to cut Freedom of Information Act fees in half and to complete the city’s goal of using 100% renewable energy for the city’s electric energy earlier than the intended year, 2030.

“I'd like to hit that sooner by investing in renewable energy and by converting the city's fleet over time into electric vehicles,” he said.

Additionally, DeLay said that he wants to represent the entirety of East Lansing, including the student population.

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“I do think that the relationship that we have with the student body is very important,” DeLay said. “They’re East Lansing residents. If they’re having any issues with the city with any agency involved in city government, I want to hear from them because my goal is going to be to represent them just like I would any other resident of East Lansing.”

The full candidate listing can be found on the City of East Lansing website.

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