She's a Social Worker First, Mayor Second

Rosalynn Bliss says social work keeps her grounded as a politician. That, and meditation.
by | April 24, 2018
Rosalyn Bliss (David Kidd)

Before she entered politics, Rosalynn Bliss was a social worker for child welfare and domestic violence cases. At some point, she shifted her strategy for making a difference.

“I realized until we changed the systems, I’ll continue to work with victims,” she says.

She then spent a decade on the Grand Rapids City Commission and is now the city's first female mayor. Elected at 40, Bliss is also the second-youngest mayor in Michigan’s second-largest city.

This year, she’s focused on building more affordable housing, addressing racial disparities in the job market and making strides toward the goal of getting to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Bliss still considers herself a social worker first and continues to teach social work, which she credits with keeping her grounded as a politician. That, and a regular meditation practice.

“My first year as mayor, I did not do a good job taking care of myself. So in my second year, I had to recalibrate. ... I've tried to build in a daily meditation practice in my life, and it’s been extremely helpful,” she says.

Listen to her full interview on "The 23%: Conversations With Women in Government" below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts or Stitcher.