By K.D. Norris
Joanne Voorhees has left the Wyoming City Council, having declined to run again for the 3rd Ward seat after nearly a decade of council service and decades of serving the community her and husband Harold call home. But don’t expect her to spend all her time with her grandkids and great-grand kids.
“As the mayor closes every session, he asks the citizens to stay informed and stay involved, so I plan to stay informed and stay involved,” Voorhees said Monday, Nov. 21, as she officially stepped off the council and the city welcomed two new members prior to its regular meeting.
“But I also have three children, 19 grandchildren and I have 14 great-grandchildren,” she said. “So I am going to spend time with family, but I will always be available and will do some volunteer work, hopefully, here in the city of Wyoming.”
To see a video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnwpzjSYLus
At the Monday meeting, the council recognized Voorhees as well as long-time member Richard Pastoor for their service to the council and the city. The city also swore in returning member-at-larg councilman Dan Burrill, who ran unopposed in the Nov. 8 election for his second four-year term, and new council members Marissa Postler, elected to the city’s 2nd Ward seat, and Robert Postema, elected to the 3rd Ward seat vacated by Voorhees.
“Rich and Joanne have been longtime fixtures in our community,” said Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt. “They are known throughout the community for their good works in the community, whether it is working in the school districts, whether it is working as a state representative.
“Rich owned a radio station in our community and has that radio voice we all know. They are people who have dedicated their lives to our community and that dedication followed through to the city council, where they were always very supportive of the city and city projects. They were always dedicated to making our city better.”
Voorhees’ service includes much more than just a city council member, however. She previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives and joined the Michigan Republican Party leadership committee in 2011, to name just two high-profile positions.
“At one time I served as the chair of the Kent County GOP, before that I served six years as a state legislator, my husband was on there for six years and because of term limits I had the opportunity to run,” she said. “It was a natural fit for me, to not only serve the community as a state representative but then to serve the people here, in the city council room.
“The neat part about Harold and I is that he also served as mayor of the City of Wyoming. At that time, I could be called first lady, and I loved that position. … I have had very unique and very blessed opportunities.”
As you watched her talk to people before the ceremony Monday, at a reception in her’s and Pastoor’s honor, you could there was a sense of pride from Voorhees for being able to serve the city and the 3rd Ward.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve (the Wyoming community), it was a golden opportunity for me to be able to serve in this capacity,” she said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my nine years. We, as a council, have worked together for nine years … We blended. We understood each other. We knew were we were coming from. We did not always agree, but we would disagree very agreeably.
“It has been a tremendous experience, I just can’t say enough about what a blessing it is to have served the residents of Wyoming, particularly the 3rd Ward, who I really represent. I have gone door-to-door, so many times. I know many of them personally. I know their feelings. I truly feel like I’ve been able to represent them to the city more than maybe the city to them.”
Holt may have summed up the feelings of many attending the ceremony, saying:
“The time she has given to our citizens is significant and I am sure at the expense of her own personal priorities in some cases. … You can’t help but admire that dedication and the time she has given to serve the citizens of the City of Wyoming.”