Collene Lamonte is running for the 91st house seat to change the priorities in Lansing. As a high school math and science teacher, Collene has seen first-hand how the policies pushed by the Republican majority have affected her neighbors, her students and her family. She can no longer stand by and watch as drastic funding cuts to education result in overcrowded classrooms and a lack of supplies for her students. Collene knows of students unable to come to school because they had to stay home to care for younger siblings while parents work two, three or four jobs just to make ends meet. She has seen her older neighbors struggle under the burden of a new state tax on retirement income created by republicans to pay for corporate tax breaks. No longer willing to watch the republicans make changes that hurt the people around her, Collene decided that she had to do something to change it.
Born in eastern Michigan where her family operated a small business, Collene was raised me to know the value of both hard work and education. She has worked many types of jobs including cleaning bathrooms, mowing lawns, waitressing and landscaping to put herself through school at Adrian College and Saginaw Valley State University, where she prepared for a teaching career. Collene was taught to believe that hard work and determination are the pathways to success; but the past few years have shown her that world events can also turn lives upside down in an instant despite hard work and planning.
When the economy slowed in Michigan, Collene’s husband lost his job in a tool and die shop that supplied the automotive industry. Her family experienced the anxiety of unemployment and the heartbreak of foreclosure. The Lamontes worked hard to put their lives back together and start over again. Now Collene wants to take that experience to Lansing to speak for those who are fighting those same battles.
As the mother of two young children, Collene is determined to bring about changes that will make Michigan a better place not only for her own children, but for her students and her neighbors’ children, too. She will fight to make Michigan a state of opportunity where young people thrive, get a quality education and want to stay to raise their families.
Collene lives in Montague with her husband, Jeff, and their two children, 8-year-old Nicholas and 9-year-old Grace.