Vicki Barnett

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Vicki Barnett

Vicki Barnett has served as a State Representative representing the 37th District of Michigan since Jan. 1, 2009. She is the wife of attorney Mark Steckloff.


Born in 1954, Barnett is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, receiving her master’s in business administration in 1991. A former investment consultant, Barnett also served as the president of the Michigan Municipal League, chair of the Data Advisory Council for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and as a board member of the National League of Cities.

Barnett and her husband, Mark, live in Farmington Hills.[1]

Political Career

Barnett was first elected to the Farmington Hills City Council in 1995, and served until 2003. She served as the Mayor of Farmington Hills, MI from 2003 - 2007. On Jan. 1, 2009 she became State Representative for Michigan, representing its 37th District.[2]

Barnett says that Aldo Vagnozzi (a Democratic Socialists of America supporter) was her political mentor. She met him in 1981 when she moved to Farmington Hills and recalls that there weren't that many Democrats back then. Barnett had just given birth to her daughter, Samantha, in 1984 when she heard a knock at the door. There was Vagnozzi leading a group of Democratic activists, telling her it was her time to be the sacrificial lamb and run for representative. She did and went on to serve on City Council a decade later when Vagnozzi was mayor.

"I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for my relationship with Aldo," Barnett said. [3]

DSA meeting

At the May 3rd 2008, Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America General Membership Meeting, speakers were State House Candidates Sarah Roberts (St. Clair Shores) and Vicki Barnett (Farmington-Farmington Hills).[4]

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.[5]

In 2008, the Barnett campaign was supported by Democratic Socialists of America help. According to the newsletter of the Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America, January 2009;[6]

Having been rebuffed in our offers of assistance to progressive Congressional candidates Gary Peters (9th district) and Mark Schauer (7th district)—both of whom were afraid of being red-baited--Detroit DSA focused instead on local and state races.
Our strategy was simple: Given our limited resources and manpower, we concentrated on competitive races in which a progressive Democrat was running for an open seat. In such a setting, the efforts of a small, but disciplined, group such as ours might provide the margin of victory for the progressive Democrat.

After interviewing candidates "to make sure their views on labor issues, health care, the environment, living wage, and progressive taxation ran parallel to ours, our membership voted to endorse four candidates for state representative: Sarah Roberts (St. Clair Shores-Harrison Township), Vicki Barnett (Farmington-Farmington Hills), Lisa Brown (West Bloomfield- Commerce Township), and Jonathan Switalski (Warren-Sterling Heights).

DSA fundraiser

On Saturday, September 6th 2008, Detroit DSA held a fundraising house party at the home of David Green and Teena Green. The goal of the party was to raise money for the campaigns of state representative candidates Vicki Barnett (Farmington-Farmington Hills), Lisa Brown (West Bloomfield-Commerce Township), Sarah Roberts (St. 0Clair Shores-Harrison Township), and Jonathan Switalski (Warren-Sterling Heights). Our "local endorsed these four candidates because of their progressive positions on issues (e.g., support for universal health care, support for living wage, support for the labor movement, environmental consciousness). We also endorsed them because we suspected their respective races would be difficult, and the concerted effort of a small group such as ours might provide the margin of victory."[7]

Our fundraising effort was essential for these campaigns because the Presidential (Obama) and Congressional (Gary Peters and Mark Schauer) races had already tapped the traditional sources of funding for Democratic/progressive candidates. Surprisingly, we raised $6500 from 37 different contributors. And we had fun doing it! Folksinger Julie Beutel provided the entertainment and had everyone singing by the end of the party.
As part of our endorsement, Detroit DSA held a fundraising house party for the four candidates in early September... Our house party raised $6500 which provided the seed money for the state representative campaigns.
Almost every weekend from late summer through the election, DSA volunteers canvassed, prepared literature, or phone banked on behalf of one of these four state representativecandidates. All four candidates won—two by razor thin margins.

Guest of Honor: State Representative Aldo Vagnozzi.[8]

DSA members meeting

The Agenda for the March 7th 2009 Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America General Membership Meeting included speakers; [9]

  • Deborah Olson on Public-Private Partnerships to Stimulate Employment in Areas of Chronic Unemployment
  • State Representative Vicki Barnett—State Legislative Update

State House leader

November 29, 2010, Michigan House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Twp.) announced that State Representative Jimmy Womack (D-Detroit) will serve as Democratic Caucus Chair and State Representative Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) will serve as Democratic Caucus Whip for the 2011-2012 legislative session.

"Jimmy and Vicki have both demonstrated the kind of leadership we need and have been great Caucus members during their first term," Hammel said. "Caucus Chair and Whip are very important positions. Jimmy and Vicki will play a huge role in making sure our Caucus remains united and delivers our message of standing up for working families all across Michigan."

Womack is a retired anesthesiologist and former President of the Detroit Board of Education. He serves as Vice Chair of the House Families and Children's Services Committee. Barnett, the former mayor of Farmington Hills, is Chair of the House Commerce Committee.

Womack and Barnett join a leadership team that includes State Representative Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) as Democratic Floor Leader.[10]

DSA fundraisers for Mark Schauer


Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America held its first in a series of proposed fundraising house parties for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer on November 13, 2013 at the home of Chris Talwar and Gillian Talwar. The party raised over $5000 from 48 donors.

The guests of honor at the event were State Representative Vicki Barnett and Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Chris Michalakis.

The next house party was scheduled for the home of Detroit DSA Executive Board member Ken Jenkins. [11]


The following endorsed Barnett in her 2010 run for State Representative:[12]



  • AFSCME Michigan Council 25
  • AFT Michigan
  • County Road Association of Michigan RUSH-PAC
  • Equality Michigan
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • MAPO-The Detroit Lieutenants and Sergeants Association
  • MAPO-The Detroit Police Officers Association
  • MAPO-The Flint Police Officers Association
  • MAPO-The Michigan Association of Police
  • MAPO-The Michigan State Police Command Officers Association
  • MAPO-The Michigan State Police Troopers Association
  • MAPO-The Police Officers Labor Council
  • MAPO-The Warren Police Officers Association
  • Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO)
  • Michigan Association of Realtors
  • Michigan Credit Union League Action Fund
  • Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union
  • Michigan Public Transit Association
  • Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights
  • Michigan State AFL-CIO
  • Michigan Teamsters Joint Council #43
  • Michigan Townships Association
  • Michigan Education Association
  • Operating Engineers Local 324
  • Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan PAC
  • Sierra Club
  • UAW Region 1
  • UFCW of Michigan
  • Western Wayne Oakland County Association of Realtors