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Lowndes ties run deep for Michigan Lt. Gov.

By Mark Rogers

The Lowndes Signal

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Dorell Gilchrist II made history as he was sworn in as that state’s first black lieutenant governor earlier this year.

What many people don’t know is that the new Michigan official, second in command to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, has Lowndes County roots.

Gilchrist’s paternal Alabama roots, originate in Lowndes County. He is the great-great grandson of Peter and Isabel Chappell Gilchrist and the grandson of Isaac and Doris Mae Gilchrist. Isaac was born and raised near Hayneville. He also has a host of relatives in the Montgomery and Birmingham metropolitan areas.

The 36-year-old politician mentioned those roots in his Inauguration Day speech on the steps of the capitol in Lansing, Mich. in January.

“(We are) lifted by the dreams of grandparents like mine, who migrated here from Alabama and Arkansas, and all across the world in search of opportunity,” Gilchrist said. “Lifted here, in Michigan, where they came and found our pleasant peninsula that marks God’s handprint. Lifted by the sweat of parents like mine, who as the first of their generation to go to college sacrificed to make real the promise of a middle-class life that could position their only child for success.”

Gilchrist was born in Detroit, Mich., on Sept. 25, 1982, and moved to Farmington in 1989 where he graduated from high school in 2000. Gilchrist has a wife, Ellen, and 4-year-old twins, Garlin Gilchrist III and Emily Grace.

Gilchrist’s background is in progressive politics and computer programming. He used to work for Microsoft, was a political organizer for MoveOn.org and managed social media for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.

In 2017, he ran for Detroit city clerk and lost his run for city clerk by 1,482 votes out of nearly 100,000 ballots. Before that, he ran Detroit’s Innovation & Emerging Technology department under Mayor Mike Duggan.