First African-American Woman Sworn in as Grand Rapids City Commissioner

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tuesday evening, Senita Lenear was sworn in as Grand Rapids’ third ward city commissioner.

Lenear is the city’s first African-American female commissioner and replaces James White who did not run for re-election. She is the former school board president of Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Incumbent commissioners Rosalyn Bliss and Dave Shaffer also took the oath at Grand Rapids Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. Shaffer is a first ward commissioner.

Bliss first took office in 2006 and represents the second ward. She will also serve as president of the commission in 2013; she held this post in 2008 as well. Commissioners in this role run meetings when the mayor is absent.

Sara Vander Werff was sworn in as city comptroller. M. Jade Vandervelde, William Baldrige, and Caralee Witteveen-Lane serve as library commissioners.

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