Rosalynn Bliss grew up in Sault St. Marie, Michigan in a large family with six brothers and three sisters, each just one year apart. Much of Rosalynn’s character is based on how she and her brothers and sisters were raised: she learned the importance of sharing, of helping others, of appreciating empathy, valuing relationships and how to communicate and resolve conflicts.
She also learned the value of hard work and independence. Growing up, both her parents worked full time – sometimes two jobs – in order to make ends meet. Her father was a brick mason, and her mother was a teller at a grocery store. She started working at a young age and worked full time in order to pay her way through college. Rosalynn earned her Bachelors degree from the University of South Alabama, and then moved to Grand Rapids, where she immediately knew that Grand Rapids was home. She started working in the human services field while she commuted to Michigan State University where she earned her Masters degree in Social Work.
Rosalynn Bliss has dedicated her life to helping others; her professional career began in the field of domestic violence and gravitated to child welfare. As she spent her time advocating for children and families, she saw an opportunity to make an impact on a larger scale: by running for public office. And in 2005, she was elected to represent Grand Rapids’ Second Ward as City Commissioner.
Since serving on the City Commission, Rosalynn has championed and supported community policing, fixing infrastructure, access to parks, green space, safe playgrounds and swimming pools, establishing corridor improvement districts to support neighborhood businesses, and fire prevention efforts. She has also worked to streamline city services, establish 311, solve fiscal shortfalls and pass balanced budgets. Rosalynn’s extensive – and constant – service to Grand Rapids as a commissioner can be viewed by clicking here. In addition, she serves as the Director of Residential Services at D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s, where she manages a significant budget, staffing, program operations and works on larger child welfare issues at the County and State level. She also serves as an adjunct professor in GVSU’s graduate School of Social Work.
Today, Commissioner Bliss is leveraging all of her fiscal experience, broad community relationships and – perhaps most importantly – her unparalleled work ethic on behalf of all the citizens of Grand Rapids.