Get to know Taylor Vanderlaan
I was born and raised in West Michigan, in the small town of Hudsonville. I am the youngest of
three siblings. Growing up I watched my mother work multiple jobs, trying to make ends meet. Our family knew first hand the economic inequalities many in the community experience.
After graduating from Hudsonville High School, I went on to study Social Work at Ferris State
University in Big Rapids, where I joined the men’s rugby team, got involved in student
advancement, and dedicated my time to volunteering with various organizations. Upon
receiving my bachelor’s in social work I became involved in the local community resource
center, The Grand Rapids Pride Center. This is where I honed my skills by dedicating time to
the Pride Center's LGBTQ+ youth group along with growing the organizations athletics/youth
From there, I went on to work in Child Welfare as a Foster Care Case Manager, where I witnessed
the racial injustice and discriminatory policies that affect our communities. These injustices
prevented people from exercising their right to vote, having their voices heard, and creating a
better life for themselves and their families. I’ve seen people who have been disqualified from
the voting process. People who, even if they could vote, still would not because of the lack of
trust for a system that has not trusted them.
After experiencing how wrongfully families are treated in this field, I left the world of Child
Welfare and became a community Social Worker with North Kent Connect. This is where I
worked with the countless families and senior citizens who frequented our organization's food
pantry. Having seen how so many families in Kent County struggle to overcome life’s hardships
and policies, it pushed me further into political involvement. I wanted to improve the situations for struggling seniors who are solely living off their social security checks, the families who have been let go
from their employment during the Covid-19 pandemic and families questioning how they will
In the short time I’ve lived here, I’ve fallen in love with the city of Kentwood. No place has felt
more like home. But just like every home, there are areas in need of improvement. It
starts with our City Clerk's Office. During the 2020 elections, Kentwood had only two drop off
locations for absentee ballots. As City Clerk I can guarantee there will be enough drop off
locations to ensure every one of the city's 51,000 residents has easy access to vote. As well as
connecting with our younger generation of voters to ensure everyone's voice is heard.
I observed a lack of urgency or care from elected officials, who were implementing policies
that created barriers for people, along with less transparency between public officials and those
they served. Recognizing this, I knew it was time for a change. For me to rise above and use
my skills in organization, advocacy, community engagement, and active listening to improve our
Let's build up our home. Together.
If you want to be involved in the process, please consider donating.
Your contributions directly fund campaign efforts and help us get
one step closer to making the changes our great city of Kentwood needs.