Meet the candidates: Sam Singh on public service and MSU’s relationship to its community

In the years since he graduated from Michigan State, Sam Singh has been a city councilor, mayor of East Lansing, nonprofit worker, state representative and small business owner.

Now, he’s hoping to be a state senator in Michigan’s newly-redrawn 28th district.

Singh, a lifelong Michigander and the son of Indian immigrants, has found meaning in a career in public service – a passion which he developed during his time at MSU. He said that being involved in service organizations and learning about government as a college student set him on the path to where he is today.

“I was a history major,” Singh said. “I thought at that point in time I was on my way to law school. And so I was taking history classes and was going to go to law school and because of my involvement and engagement with the Service Learning Center, I decided to actually go into a career in the public sector. ”

He said that the ideals of his early life still inform the way he operates in his career today.

“My parents had always taught that we need to give back to our community, we need to be involved and engaged,” Singh said. “That was sort of part of the kind of conversations we’d have around our dinner table.”

One of the ways of giving back that Singh envisions has everything to do with his alma mater. His priorities are making sure that MSU is connected to the community it inhabits in a way that serves them both.

“I’ve always wanted to make sure that Michigan State University was more than just focused on their own activities, but that they were helping build and strengthen economic development opportunities for the entire mid-Michigan area,” Singh said.

If elected to the state senate, Singh said that he’ll work to strengthen the economic relationship between the university and the greater Lansing area.

“Not only are a lot of people employed at the university, but there’s a lot of faculty and staff that are creating innovative ideas that spin off into small businesses in our area, in our region,” Singh said.

He said that utilizing higher education, in whatever form it takes, will be crucial in helping Michigan continue to recover from the post-pandemic economic downturn.

“That’s a fundamental part of what MSU is helping out with, but we also have to work with community colleges, we have to work with our building trades and our apprenticeship programs,” Singh said.

And he thinks his experience will be useful in the State Capitol; between time in elected office and in the private sector, Singh said that he feels he’s developed a skill set to handle these issues.

“I wanted to kind of continue that public service that I’ve had in the past and the State Senate seems like the appropriate place because, for me, we really have to be talking about jobs and how we get people ready for the jobs of the future. ”

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