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Growing up in a small town in Michigan, Kristen McDonald Rivet was raised in a working-class, Catholic household that valued hard work, education and service to others.
For most of Kristen’s childhood, her Mom stayed home to care for Kristen, her twin sister Karen, and her older sister Lisa-Marie. Kristen’s Dad worked construction, often clocking in 70 to 80 hours a week. When the construction season slowed down and it got cold, he worked snow removal to make ends meet. Like many people in this district, he showered at the end of his work day not before. Her Dad wasn’t afraid to get calluses on his hands through a tough day’s work.
Kristen and her sisters were the first generation in the family to go to college, with their Mom joining them at the same time Kristen started at Michigan State University. Later, Kristen got her master’s degree at University of Michigan-Flint.
Through hard work and grit, the McDonald family was able to achieve what Kristen calls the Michigan Dream: to own a home, pay the bills, put a little away for retirement, and, every once in a while, have the chance to drive to Disney World. As an adult, Kristen has fought tirelessly to help families willing to work hard, like hers growing up, achieve that dream.
So after school, Kristen got to work helping families and children have more opportunities to thrive, with particular focus on making childcare more affordable. As the Executive Director of Michigan Head Start, Chief of Staff for Michigan’s Department of Education and Vice President of the Skillman Foundation, Kristen worked to make big changes in Michigan to improve child care and education outcomes for children, revitalize communities, increase youth development programs, and create public policy that helped level the playing field.
In 2022, Kristen was elected to the Michigan State Senate, where she is the first Democrat in over a decade and the first woman ever to represent the Great Lakes Bay Region in the Michigan Senate.
In the State Senate, Kristen has made great progress for Michigan families, workers and children. She successfully led the charge to pass the largest tax cut for working families in Michigan’s history, and has introduced a plan to address the growing childcare crisis in our state. Kristen has fought to protect abortion rights for women, and, in one of her first acts in the State Senate, passed a commonsense gun violence prevention bill that requires safe storage of firearms around children.
Now, as inflation and corporate greed have made the Michigan Dream increasingly out of reach for too many Michiganders, Kristen is running for Congress in Michigan’s 8th District to help level the playing field. Known for her pragmatic approach, Kristen has a record of moving policies to lower the cost of groceries, housing and prescription drugs, and to invest in childcare.
Michigan needs more high-wage jobs. Kristen will make sure we invest in our workforce to prepare Michiganders for the jobs of tomorrow because while college isn’t for everyone, good-paying jobs should be. She will also be steadfast in protecting our hard-earned freedoms and security, including defending the right to abortion, and keeping guns out of dangerous hands.
Kristen currently lives in Bay City with her husband Joseph, youngest son Elijah and their cat Tuck. They have five other adult children – Courtney, Grant, Laken, Madison, and Ella.