Three Rivers High School graduate and community organizer Torrey Brown has announced he is running as a write-in candidate for at-large city commissioner, a seat currently held by incumbent Clayton Lyczynski who is not seeking reelection.
“I chose to run for at-large city commissioner because I want to be a leader in the change this city needs, for the people of this community,” Brown said. “I believe that we can become the standard of change in St. Joseph County, Southwest Michigan, and even the state.”
Brown, who lives in Three Rivers’ first district with his wife and two kids, moved to Three Rivers from South Side Chicago as an eighth grader. He attended Three Rivers High School where he played football, basketball, and track all four years, and was “instrumental with leading the walkout in 1995 to get the millage back on the ballot for the new high school.” Brown played Division II college football at Saginaw Valley State University, and with the exception of his four years in Saginaw and an eight-year stint in Phoenix, Arizona, Brown has called Three Rivers home since 1990.
Brown is the onsite coordinator for the St. Joseph County CTE building trade program. He teaches students how to build homes from the ground up, “giving them a trade they can make a career out of” while “working hand in hand with Habitat for Humanity building homes for deserving families.”
Brown said as city commissioner he would prioritize improving the gathering places and activities available to the youth of Three Rivers, exploring ways to generate revenue while “keeping money local,” and holding public officials accountable.
“We need to invest in something along the lines of a community center, if not funded by the city, then we need to support someone who has a vision along those lines,” Brown said.
“That would tie into my next point of bringing in revenue. Having a community center would keep our youth in town and their purchasing powers here along with them. Also, finding something that would attract millennials, who have the top purchasing power in the United States, will keep money local. Lastly, I would like to make a concentrated effort to hold our local officials, including myself, accountable. When people are not being held accountable there is no incentive to do what is right for the next person.”
Brown believes a city commissioner should advocate for “fairness and equality” for all of their constituents, something he’s already exhibited a capacity to do. The Chicago native was the lead organizer of Three Rivers’ “Stand for the Right to Breathe” protest last June in response to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others.
“The most important thing for my constituents to know about me is that I have fought for fairness and equality my entire life, and I plan to continue that fight with my role as city commissioner.”
Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.
Disclaimer: Torrey Brown is a columnist and frequent contributor for Watershed Voice.