What's included in the 103rd House District?
- Leelanau County: The entire county
- Grand Traverse County: Acme, East Bay, Garfield, Long Lake, Peninsula townships and the City of Traverse City
- Benzie County: Almira, Platte townships
I’m running for State Representative because I believe when we work together, we can create a northern Michigan community where every single person is able to enjoy life with dignity and opportunity.
Growing up in a rural, working class community in the region, I learned my work ethic from my mom, who cleaned lakefront homes for a living, and spent her free time volunteering to serve in food pantries and church activities, all while raising four children. I observed the struggles of life on the margins, especially when it came to health care. My parents were in constant states of stress if one of us kids fell ill, balancing how to afford medical visits and still pay the bills.
In 2020, I saw firsthand how important quality health insurance is, when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Insurance covered nearly $300,000 of medical bills, and served as a reminder that so many hard working families still live one emergency away from financial collapse.
I want to help build a Michigan where everyone has access to quality physical and mental health care, no matter their zip code, race or gender, or level of income. I will fight for housing -- an ever growing crisis in the 103rd -- and protect the waters and land that define our district's economic and social well-being.
For too long, certain Lansing politicians have been out of touch with our community's needs. They’ve chosen profit over people to keep their power, and have worked to divide and distract us so we won’t demand better for our families.
I say no more. We all have the right to dream big and demand more of our leaders. Let's work together to build a 103rd and a Michigan where we ALL can thrive.
I’m Betsy Coffia, and I am running to be your representative. I am committed to working hard every day for you and your loved ones to have life with dignity, because that is what we all deserve.
You may already know Betsy from her decade-plus of organizing in the Grand Traverse region, and many of you have been in the trenches with her-- from collecting 30k signatures in the the Emergency Manager Repeal campaign, to standing up for human rights in the Trump era, to defending our vote from the Big Lie in 2020-21.
What you may not know: Betsy grew up in a working class family here in northern Michigan. She became the first Democratic woman in over 30 years to be elected to the Grand Traverse County Commission in 2018, flipping the seat of a multi-term incumbent. She was re-elected in 2020 by an even bigger margin.
Betsy has built a reputation as a thoughtful bipartisan policy maker, and a staunch voice for transparency and constituent services. She is a clear and level-headed leader in the most critical community issues, advocating for science and public health, responsible public spending, and priorities including a balanced approach to housing, mental health, broadband, and childcare.
Preserving our natural resources
There is no better voice for natural resources than representatives from northern Michigan. Our economy + sense of place are defined by shorelines, waterways, farms and orchards. I want the 103 to be seen as a leader in Michigan in clean energy, healthy drinking water for all, protecting the Great Lakes, and addressing climate change, one community at a time.
An economy that works for everyone
A sense of community and functioning economy are intrinsically connected in northern Michigan. We must address critical issues like workforce/housing; access to quality mental and physical healthcare; an expansion of rural broadband; the necessity of a living wage. As someone who grew up in a working class family, I'm keenly aware of the struggles-- and possible solutions.
Supporting public education
As a social worker who served public schools in northern Michigan, I've seen firsthand the importance of funding early childhood education. I want to ensure our public school educators have the resources they need, and that students have access to mental and physical health care. As right wing extremists attack the foundational principles of public education, I commit to standing with educators.
Protecting our reproductive rights
I am the only pro-choice woman in the 103rd race. I staunchly support the right to privacy and access to reproductive healthcare including abortion care. I strongly oppose government overreach into our own private healthcare decisions, which belong exclusively between us and our medical care providers.
Protecting voting rights
I will fight against all strategies to limit access/make voting more difficult for marginalized communities. I will also stand firm in holding elected leaders accountable-- like my Republican opponent-- for any attempts to undermine voting rights. I will work to ensure all constituents have access to voting information, and that election officials feel safe in carrying out their duties.
A community leader with strong community support.
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Michigan Attorney General
Betsy voted to save Grand Traverse County taxpayers millions by bonding its pension debt.
Following two suicides at the Grand Traverse County Jail, Betsy pushed for jail reforms that were largely responsible for the hiring of a new firm to provide integrated medical and mental health services at the jail in 2022.
Betsy cast a dissenting vote when fellow Commissioners awarded themselves with 70% raises while county workers were left out of the discussion. She parlayed the resulting public criticism into persuading commissioners to launch a wage and compensation study that resulted in county employees receiving raises of up to 9.5% in 2022.
Betsy's negotiations in her first term yielded the county’s 2020 scientific community survey; she was able to secure funding for it from a county commission that hadn't surveyed its residents in recent memory. This brought vital direct feedback from constituents to the board’s decision making process and is now informing such activities as long term strategic planning on how to spend the $18.2 million allocated to Grand Traverse County thru the American Rescue Plan.
In the case of $18.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that Grand Traverse County was awarded in 2021, Betsy’s lobbying for robust public engagement led to the appointment of an ARPA advisory committee.
Betsy voted to modernize Grand Traverse County building codes permitting systems.
Betsy brokered a series of meetings between the county sheriff and BIPOC community justice groups resulting in an unanimous vote to buy body cameras and institute anti-bias training for sheriff’s deputies.
Recognizing that Grand Traverse County is experiencing marked growth, Betsy lobbied for more than 3 years for the county to undertake long term strategic planning. In April 2022, the county commission held its first strategic planning session since 2015 and identified housing, mental health and childcare among top priorities.
Betsy was able to work across the aisle to persuade the board to pass a Resolution in Support of a Free Press after a local reporter was assaulted at an anti-mask rally attended by three Republicans on the commission. Betsy worked to advocate for local constituents impacted by auto accidents, and passed a resolution urging the Michigan legislature to amend the Michigan No Fault Auto Insurance Reform Act to raise the reimbursement cap for auto accident victims.
After Republicans resisted Betsy's calls for hazard pay for frontline workers, Betsy coaxed the commission into awarding hazard pay to first responders and, later, overworked Health Department employees.