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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

National organization takes notice of Kent County as a swing county and mobilizes voters

Map of Michigan 2016 Presidential Election Results by county showing number of votes by size and candidates by color
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The Human Rights Campaign is a national organization advocating for LGBTQ people, and they’re focusing on Kent County as an important place for political action ahead of the 2020 election. 

The organization is hosting an event at the Pride Center Thursday called “2020: The Road Ahead” centered around organizing voters for next year. 

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan and in the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the city, while surrounding area Kent County largely went for Republican Donald Trump, according to election data. 

Thomas Pierce is the executive director for the Grand Rapids Pride Center and calls the county’s 2016 election outcome “the red donut effect”. 

“If you activate the right groups of people we could get a very good turn out as far as putting people into office that have progressive liberal viewpoints and want to see our country move in that direction. But if we don’t, those viewpoints like the more liberal could be overwhelmed by the more conservative because those also exist within Kent County”

Pierce says that as the 2020 election approaches and eyes turn to key counties like Kent County it is important for voters to be informed about candidates, both local and national, regardless of political affiliation. 

Olive Scott, WGVU News.

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