Francis completed his law degree at Wayne State University Law School. He was a key member of the ballot initiative committee, Detroiters for Council by Districts, which oversaw the collection of nearly 30,000 registered voter signatures, and the successful placement and passage of a citywide ballot question that fundamentally changed Detroit’s city council from an all at-large body to a hybrid district and at-large body. More recently, Francis served as Senior Policy Analyst for Community Legal Resources and the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign. In this capacity, Francis familiarized himself with land bank law and worked closely with the City’s Building Department and Center for Community Progress staff to help create a novel community code enforcement reporting and feedback mechanism to help communities address vacant properties issues.
Before entering law school, Francis had over a decade of experience working in community planning and public policy efforts at various levels of government. He worked for five years as a city planner in New York City before returning home to Detroit in 2001. After starting several non-profits devoted to improving the quality of life in Detroit, he worked for four years as the Executive Director of Detroit’s lead historic preservation organization, Preservation Wayne. Among many initiatives, Francis helped shape improvements to the Michigan Historic Tax Credit program.