Jocelyn Benson Biography
Jocelyn Benson is the Secretary of State of Michigan. She is the former Dean of Wayne State University Law School in Michigan. Benson is a co-founder of the Military Spouses of Michigan and a board member of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. She is the author of “State Secretaries of State: .”
She was named one of Michigan’s “Most Influential Women” in 2016. She became one of the youngest women in the state’s history to be recruited into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in October 2015. This was second only to Serena Williams. Benson was elected to be Michigan’s next Secretary of State on November 6, 2018. She became the first Democrat to hold the office after Richard Austin.
Jocelyn is currently CEO and Executive Director of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), a national nonprofit. She has more than a decade of experience as a national leader in election law and administration. has a proven track record of success in leading institutions, cutting costs and improving services.
She also established programs to promote government oversight, provide free legal services for veterans, and help aspiring entrepreneurs participate in the economic revival of Detroit. She serves on national boards including the advisory board of iCivics, she being a long-distance runner, she has completed 22 marathons.
Jocelyn Benson Net Worth
Benson being a high ranking political leader is obviously earning a lump some of money.No information has been xutrrently released of her networth due to security reasons.
Jocelyn Benson Husband
Jocelyn is married to Ryan Friedrichs who is a military officer. They are blessed with one child Aiden.
Jocelyn Benson Age
She was born in Pittsburgh, PA as Jocelyn Michelle Benson . She is 41 years born on October 22, 1977.
Jocelyn Benson Education
She studied for her bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College. Benson founded the Women in American Political Activism conference.She was the first student to be elected to serve in the governing body for the town of Wellesley.
She worked as an associate for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She also served as a legal assistant to American legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg at National Public Radio (NPR). After graduating, Benson worked as general editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.
She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith. She was hired by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2004 to develop its first nationwide Election Protection program. It gave the authority to select, recruit, and train its Voter Protection coordinators in 21 states. She advocated for a ban on the use of foreclosure lists as a means to challenge a voter’s eligibility on election days.
She was named as an Associate Law Professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan. She has taught the following courses: Election Law, Sports and Inequality, Race and the Law, Education Law, and Civil Procedure.
Jocelyn Benson Polls
Digital First Media: Why do you want to hold this position and what makes you qualified to do so?
Benson: I’ve got a track record of running institutions successfully. And I’ve got the right expertise in what the office does to be prepared to be a Secretary of State who is going to lead us forward, to be a leader among other states in how we run our elections, and also how we oversee our driving and delivery of services.
I love this office because it protects and guards our democracy, which is the foundation of everything else that we care about in our state and in our country.
Secondly, it interacts with more citizens than any other office in the state because of the branch offices and the licensing functions. So there’s a tremendous opportunity to serve citizens well and demonstrate how efficiency and a service-oriented leadership style can really be what government is about and define what government is for our citizens.
DFM: Why do you think voters should support you?
Benson: I’ve got that experience, a track record running institutions successfully, and a deep expertise in the work of this office that I’ve cultivated over an entire career dedicated to democracy, advocacy and election law.
But I think number one is, as my expertise in elections, having written a book on the Secretary of State’s office 10 years ago now, I’ve developed a strong understanding of what works and what doesn’t in these offices. What the best practices are. And relationships with secretaries of state all around the country, many of whom are supporting my campaign now that will be brought to bear in really making Michigan one in which we’re implementing the best ideas, best practices to make government work better for our citizens.
I’m the only candidate in this race with a track record of running intuitions successfully. As dean of Wayne State Law School, I froze tuition, I cut our $11 million budget by $1 million. Every year we endured budget cuts.
Kitchen table talk
DFM: What concerns are you hearing most on the campaign trail?
Benson: The branch office wait times is the number one thing, and it’s something that I’ve experienced personally.
When my husband was in the military he was home on leave one weekend, and we were here. He had to renew his license. He had to go in personally at that point. And we went to the Oak Park branch office and after waiting in line for close to an hour, we hadn’t moved, it was clear that it would be several more hours.
He turned and said to me, “I’m home for a weekend. I don’t want to spend it all at a Secretary of State branch office.” That was a pivotal moment for me, because I knew we could do better, and was really the genesis of me saying we should be able to guarantee to our citizens we’re gonna work hard to get you in and out in 30 minutes or less no matter where you are in the state.
Improving user experience
DFM: With vehicle registration, and licensing of vehicles. How will you improve the user experience?
Benson: I think we should offer multi-year license plates, perhaps permanent license plates in some instances. And essentially options for citizens who don’t want have to renew every year. And use technology as well to ensure that if you are renewing, that you can do most of your services online.
I’ve been meeting with a lot of folks in the private sector, bank presidents, and others who’ve been examining this same type of issue, how do you deliver securely services to a large population, and ensure that everyone’s getting a good customer service experience?
So I want to learn from those best practices as well. A lot of which means moving more things online, creating an app, which is something I even talked about in my first campaign, and making sure that perhaps you can interact virtually with the branch office employees instead of having to go into a branch office.
DFM: What enhancements do you feel technology can help make in the Secretary of State office? And what pitfalls come with that?
Benson: When I was dean I used to say, “We have to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow.” And I think as Secretary of State you need to be thinking boldly and innovatively, similarly to ensure we’re bringing the best in innovative ideas here to Michigan. In particular you see it in voting. My philosophy with election administration is you’ve got to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.
The use of technology becomes informative in both of those pieces in making it easier to vote, moving voter registration online for example. It can cut costs and increase the accuracy of our voter lists.
DFM: What are your thoughts on measures such as the citizen check box, and color coding licenses?
Benson: I think you need to insure anytime you’re treating one group of the population all in the same way that you have an eye toward the sensitivities of discrimination, and the need to be an inclusive community as we are here in Michigan, and should be.
That said, I believe in making it easier to vote, harder to cheat, so when it comes to our elections process we do need to have procedures in place to ensure that only eligible voters are registering to vote.
And the voter registration moment is where it’s most effective historically, and where the data shows that it’s best to verify a voter’s eligibility, when they’re registering.
Promote the Vote
DFM: What are your thoughts on the Promote the Vote ballot initiative?
Benson: For both the ‘Promote the vote,’ and Proposal 2, redistricting, both of those initiatives implicate the Secretary of State’s office, and so I do think it’s important they do pass.
I will be voting for both, but if they do pass I think it is important that you have a Secretary of State with the expertise in the issues and the knowledge base to implement them effectively. I’m the only candidate in the race with that long-standing expertise that’s prepared to do that.
Proposal 3, I think there’s clearly a need to modernize how we make voting accessible and secure. And that this proposal captures that both by making it so you don’t have to give a reason if you wanna vote absentee, you can vote early, you can register to vote online, post election audits that I’ve talked about it provides for.
DFM: What are your thoughts on no-reason absentees?
Benson: As the mom of a 2 year old, who was two months old in August of 2016, I would’ve loved to vote absentee in that election, but I was right down the street from my polling place so I took my little two month old in with me and waited in line for two hours in order to cast my ballot in that presidential election cycle.
So I think Michigan lags behind nearly every state in this country in that we don’t allow people to vote absentee unless they meet one of six qualifications. I think that needs to change. I fully support no-reason absentee voting, and will advocate for it as Secretary of State.
Qualified voter file
DFM: What are your thoughts about the qualified voter file? What do you think of the Ohio approach? (editor’s note: In Ohio, someone who hasn’t voted for two years gets a notice asking them to verify their address. If they do not respond and then do not vote in the next two federal election cycles, they are removed from the rolls)
Benson: First of all the goal is to have an accurate qualified voting file. We need to ensure its accuracy and that means removing people who are not eligible to vote while not removing people who are eligible to vote.
I’ll work with the federal government and others to ensure that when we get information about somebody being deceased that we’re removing them from their rolls.
Jocelyn Benson Michigan
Benson began the project Military Spouses of Michigan and Veterans Advocacy in 2012. They joined together with three other military spouses and their family members.
This was to create a network dedicated to providing support and services to military family members. In January 2013 the group received an honour to represent the state of Michigan in the Presidential Inaugural Parade.
Leave a Comment