Gilda Jacobs

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Gilda Jacobs

Gilda Jacobs has served as a State Senator for the 14th District of Michigan since 2003, succeeding Gary C. Peters. From 1999 - 2002 she served as a State Representative for the 35th District of Michigan.

Early life

Jacobs graduated from the University of Michigan, received her bachelor’s degree in science with a distinction in education in 1970 and a master’s degree in behavioral sciences in education in 1971. She was a special education teacher in the Madison School District until the late 1980s.

Political Career

Jacobs was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in 1998, where she served for two terms, representing the 35th District. In 2002, she ran for the open State Senate seat being vacated by Senator Gary Peters. She won in a landslide in the heavily Democratic 14th district.

DSA fundraiser for Lisa Brown

Under the heading "Fundraiser for Lisa Brown a success" a Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America 2006 newsletter report on a Detroit DSA meeting Nov. 4 2006 stated;[1]

Lisa Brown is a progressive Democrat running for the state representative seat in West Bloomfield/Commerce Township. She received Detroit DSA’s endorsement at our July general membership meeting.
As part of our endorsement, our members voted to hold a fundraising reception for Lisa.

That reception took place on Friday, October 13 at the home of David and Teena Green in Farmington Hills. We collected $2070 from twenty-six individual donors (with more checks reportedly in the mail). Folksinger Julie Beutel provided entertainment.
State Senator Gilda Jacobs was the guest of honor. State Representative Aldo Vagnozzi (D—Farmington/Farmington Hills) also attended and contributed to Lisa’s campaign.

It was a fun, and successful fundraiser.

ACLU meeting

More than 150 people, including several Democratic Socialists of America members , participated in the Metro Detroit ACLU's conference, "Reclaiming Our Rights," January 26th 2008 at the Arab-American National Museum in Dearborn.

Representative John Conyers, Jr., State Senator Gilda Jacobs, State Representative Steve Tobocman, attorney Bill Goodman, and others spoke on the "threats to civil liberties both nationally, under the Bush Administration, and here in Michigan."

ACLU Legal Director Mike Steinberg described several recent civil liberties cases..

"Recent revelations about wiretapping, Internet spying, torture cover-ups, and library censorship show us that the need to protect our rights has never been greater," said Heather Bendure, chair of the ACLU's Metro Detroit branch. [2]

Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, updated the conference on the latest efforts by Congress to challenge the Bush Administration’s domestic spying program. Other speakers and panelists included Arab American News Editor Osama Siblani, NAACP Executive Director Heaster Wheeler, and Wayne State University Professor Robert Sedler, ACLU of Michigan attorney Mark Fancher, civil liberties attorney William Swor, and human rights activist Reverend Harry Cook. [3]

DSA electoral support

Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America has a "simple but effective electoral strategy. We endorse progressive candidates in competitive races where the focused efforts of a small group such as ours can tip the balance in favor of the progressive candidate. This strategy has served us well in electing state representatives such as Steve Bieda, Alma Wheeler Smith, John Espinoza, Aldo Vagnozzi, and Fred Miller, and state senators such as Gilda Jacobs and Hansen Clarke."

We have expanded our efforts in 2008 by endorsing four candidates instead of two candidates as we traditionally do.

In 2008 Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of Americaendorsed state representative candidates Sarah Roberts (St. Clair Shores-Harrison Township), Vicki Barnett (Farmington-Farmington Hills), Lisa Brown (West Bloomfield-Harrison Township), and Jonathan Switalski (Warren-Sterling Heights). As a result, DSA members have been canvassing, phone banking, and stuffing envelopes for one of these four candidates almost every weekend since the late summer. To date, the following members have participated in at least one (and usually several) campaign dates: Brandon Moss, Selma Goode, Michelle Fecteau, Bob Alpert, Lon Herman, Maurice Geary, Helen Samberg, Bob Frumkin, Charlie Rooney, Julie Barton, David Elsila, David Green, Dave Ivers, Michael Dover, Bill Helwig, Bob Denoweth, and Marylyn Schmidt.[4]

“Prospects for Progressive Legislation in the State Senate and House”

Under the heading "Join us for May 5 DSA meeting" a Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America 2007 newsletter report on a Detroit DSA meeting May 5, 2007 stated;[5]

At our next general membership meeting, State Senator Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) and State Representative Fred Miller (D-Mt. Clemens) will discuss “Prospects for Progressive Legislation in the State Senate and House.” In the 2006 election, Democrats took control of the state legislature and increased their number in the state senate. This has created possibilities for legislation on health care, education, and improving the state minimum wage. However, the continuing budget crisis in Lansing threatens any new legislative initiatives. Join us as we discuss these issues with Senator Jacobs and Representative Miller.

Supported Progressive Health Care Reform

In late 2009, Gilda Jacobs was one of more than 1,000 state legislators to sign a letter entitled "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". The letter was a project of the Progressive States Network and was developed in consultation with national health care reform advocates, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Community Catalyst, Families USA, Herndon Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Northeast Action, SEIU, and Universal Health Care Action Network. The letter reads in part,[6]

"Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure... We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all."

Triangle Foundation

Jacobs has served on the advisory board for the Triangle Foundation, now known as Equality Michigan.