Flint, MI—History was made on Tuesday, June 29 when for the first time, a Latinx individual was appointed to the Genesee County Board of Canvassers.

Enrique Rodriguez, the new appointee, has spent decades volunteering within the Latinx community. In 1971 after returning home from serving in the army, Rodriguez became a chairman for the Spanish-Speaking Information Center, a position he served in for 14 terms.

As a board member of the Latinx Technology and Community Center, he took part in many of the community’s successes throughout the years. Now, he will have the opportunity to take his experiences and use them to represent his community at the county level.

Rodriguez is also a part of Latinos United for Flint and currently serves on Hurley Hospital’s Institutional Review Board.

In this new position, Rodriguez, who was appointed by County Clerk John Gleason, will be joining a team of three other board members, two republican and one democrat, to certify votes for local, county and district elections. 

“I’m feeling honored that I’m able to serve all the citizens of Genesee County,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s important for us to have diversity in all levels of government. It’s important to get involved, it’s important to serve your community.”

Rodriguez, who received a bachelor’s of healthcare administration as well as a master’s degree in public administration from UM-Flint, will be joining fellow Democrat Sharon Reeves, who has served on the board for 12 years.

Reeves, a person of color herself, has seen firsthand the benefits of representation in government. 

“We are in a position to represent our communities a whole lot more than we were in the past. I’ve learned that sometimes the best representation isn’t about being the loudest in the room, rather being able to sit back and form solutions that will benefit everyone, including my community,” Reeves said.

Though he is new to the position, Rodriguez said his passion to serve and experiences working within the Latinx community helped him prepare for this new role.

“I believe in volunteering, in giving back to the community. I also believe that if you serve, you should serve ethically. I’ve enjoyed serving my community,” Rodriguez said.

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...