Distinguished Democrats: Hon. Lupe Ramos-Montigny

Hon. Lupe Ramos-Montigny
Educator, Democratic Party Leader, Community Organizer

Anyone who has ever crossed paths with Lupe Ramos-Montigny would undoubtedly tell you she is a force to be reckoned with. Certainly, she is nothing but a ball of gusto, vim and vigor even now after decades of dedication as an educator, mentor, politico, and community organizer.

“There’s no book that says you have to like Ramos-Montigny,” Lupe once told Tom Rademacher, a long-time reporter and columnist for The Grand Rapids Press, with a laugh. “I just believe in doing good work, and hoping others join in. My motto? Do not allow anyone or anything to get in the way of progress.

From picking Michigan cherries and tomatoes as a migrant worker’s child to earning numerous degrees and teaching 36 years with GRPS, Lupe has been guided by a singular focus on cultivating herself, building up those around her, and never letting “no” stop her.

After retiring from teaching, W. Paul Mayhue recruited her to join Kent County Democrats as a professional. When asked what she wanted to do, Lupe responded that she wanted to go to Democratic National Conventions.

Countless of conventions later, she is noted as the organizing force behind the Michigan Democratic Hispanic/Latino Caucus, which she also chaired. In 2002, she also became the first Latina to serve as Kent County Democratic Party Chair and later, in 2003, the first Hispanic Vice-Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.

She was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education for eight years, and she continues to chair the community-based Committee to Honor Cesar E. Chavez since its inception in 2000.

As a leader, Lupe has found she could help lots of people at all levels. And she urges everyone: “Attend meetings. Get involved. Understand how things work and meet key leaders. There are many opportunities to be a leader. We always have to move forward.”

It’s that indomitable spirit that caused GVSU to name the “Si Se Puede” “Yes, I Can!” Legacy Scholarship after her in 2015. This past November, she was recognized as an engaged and inspiring individual at the “16 Over 60 Gala.”

“If I believe in something, I will work hard,” Lupe said. “I never say I can’t do something. Right now, I can.”

Click here to read more of Lupe’s story by Terry Gates.