What Lansing does impacts us locally. The actions taken under the Capitol dome have ripple effects across the state. The policy set by the budget, policy and law impacts us all. What transpires under the Capitol dome does not stay under the Capitol dome.
In fiscal year 2015, Michigan’s revenues totaled $56.6 billion. Michigan spent $55.3 billion during fiscal year 2015 to provide services to the citizens of Michigan. This figure covers community colleges, Pre-K-12, universities, transportation, agriculture, environment health, behavioral health, and human services to name a few. There are tens of thousands of employees working at government agencies, profit and non-profits organization across the state with our tax dollars pulsing through their veins.
When government does not work well, everyone hears about it. Yet, there are many government programs and services that add value and make a difference in citizen’s lives, every day.
One such quality person who provides value makes a difference and in fact, saves lives using our tax dollars, is Angelo Glenn, Strengthening Families coordinator for Mariners Inn.
Few, if any, will recognize Angelo by name or even recognize him by sight. Yet, Angelo is the epitome and representative of the many good, decent, hard-working civil servants, bureaucrats, government employees and non-profit staff that make the laws and policies set in Lansing come alive for the citizens of “Pure Michigan.”
While government workers are often vilified and scapegoated for ideological reasons or political gain, having worked in leadership positions in business, government, higher education and the non-profit sectors, I can tell you some of the brightest, most dedicated and hardest workers come from the ranks of government and non-profit agencies. These men and women deserve our respect and admiration for the work they do.
Angelo Glenn wears multiple hats carrying out the laws and policies pushed out of the Capitol dome. A few of Angelo’s titles are substance abuse prevention director, substance abuse board chair, Community Mental Health board member, man of God, husband, father and mentor. But he did not follow the easy street with a silver spoon in his mouth to reach the success and respect he has obtained. He got it the old fashion way — by earning it.
Angelo’s early life was a blur even to him, plagued by many afflictions including witnessing domestic violence during childhood, parental substance abuse, long-running personal poly-substance abuse with consequential prison incarceration and homelessness, and multiple near-death experiences.
Today, Angelo Glenn is a truly good man giving his all to help people with mental health and substance issues including youth. He is a man of integrity and you can take his word to the bank. Ultimately Mr. Glenn overcame those many obstacles and obtained a degree in Addiction Studies. He attributes his resilience to his strong faith in God and his willingness to help others succeed.
The ideals, ideas and laws crafted in committees and on the house and senate floor come alive out in the community, in our schools, cities, courts, agencies and streets.
Few know the origination of the law or appropriation financing the government program, but they do know the Angelos who make these laws real for the citizens of our state
Tom Watkins is the president and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority. He served the citizens of Michigan as state mental health director and state superintendent of schools. Follow Watkins on twitter @tdwatkins88