Michigan State Senate District 32
Phil Phelps was born on May 1, 1979 in Flint, Michigan to Walter and Sharon Phelps. Phil’s father, a disabled veteran, worked for General Motors Metal Fabrication in Flint. During the 80’s Walter suffered a terrible workplace injury and the family had to fight a long battle for workers compensation during which they lost their home and Sharon had to take a job with a local bank to keep food on the table. Phil’s family had to fight through adversity many times. Working hard and overcoming adversity has become a hallmark of Phil’s life and career.
Phil studied at Delta and Mott Community Colleges and earned his bachelors degree at the University of Michigan Flint. While in college, Phil was the President of the University of Michigan Flint College Democrats and a member of Political Science National Honor Society Pi Sigma Alpha, where he discovered public service was both a passion and a talent. He graduated in 2006 while working full time on Governor Granholm’s reelection campaign and acting as a spokesman for the Genesee Health Plan’s ballot initiative. After the campaign he took a position in the Michigan House Democratic Communications office where he worked for eight Democratic members from the Mid-Michigan area. Shortly thereafter he was tapped by Lt. Governor John Cherry to become a regional director of external affairs for the Granholm-Cherry administration.
As a special advisor for House Democratic Leader Richard Hammel, Phil adamantly fought against the so called right to work laws and attempts to limit the choice of women across Michigan. After Representative Hammel left the legislature he became Chief of Staff for incoming Representative Pam Faris in 2013, which he left to run for Michigan’s 49th State House District.
During his time in the House, Phil has continued his fight for working class residents. He fought against the removal of the Earned Income Tax Credit, against taking away health care benefits from retirees, and against the reduced support for local communities. Phil has fought for schools and better education funding, and he passed legislation to help injured Delphi workers who had been forgotten in Delphi’s bankruptcy proceedings. His bill helped them regain the benefits that had been unjustly taken from them. Phil also sponsored legislation to help fix the broken Unemployment Insurance system that wrongfully flagged claims as fraud and unjustly took money away from innocent residents. When the Flint Water Crisis started, Phil leaped into action. He submitted FOIA requests for state documents and passed an appropriations bill to get aid to the City. He’s introduced legislation that would keep this from happening anywhere else in Michigan, including bills to make the government more accountable and transparent, to protect whistleblowers, to specify testing methods, to make altering official data illegal, and to mandate lead testing in schools and day cares.
Phil co-founded the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Caucus, which has been fighting for better education and access to mental health services for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing residents.