From 2003-2008, Steve served as the State Representative from Michigan 12th State House District in southwestern Detroit, becoming the first person to unseat an incumbent member of the State House since term limits were adopted. While in the Legislature, Steve championed many community development and urban revitalization policies, including serving as a lead advocate on state land bank enabling legislation, brownfields and historic tax credits, as well as the creation of Michigan’s Housing and Community Development Fund. In his last term, Steve served as the House Majority Floor Leader, the second-ranking position in the House. Steve’s legislative career is characterized by his leadership of numerous progressive causes, which earned him Legislator of the Year honors from several organizations including the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Peace Action, Michigan Children’s, Michigan Farmworkers, the Michigan Municipal League, Habitat for Humanity Michigan, Michigan Community Action Agency Association, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and Pride Michigan.
After attaining his law degree and masters in public policy from the University of Michigan in 1997, Steve was the founding director of Community Legal Resources (recently renamed Michigan Community Resources), a business law pro bono initiative providing hundreds of nonprofit organizations and community development corporations with free legal services. From 1995-2002, Steve served the state’s community development industry as a lawyer and advocate and served on the founding boards of both the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), the city and statewide trade association for the community development industry. He has taught as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School and the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Since completing his time in elected office, Steve has served as the co-director of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force, a 200-member network of foreclosure counseling agencies, community development corporations, legal services attorneys, neighborhood associations, local governments, statewide trade associations, and banks that work on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis in Michigan. He co-directs the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University, and is involved in a number of other public policy initiatives, including spearheading Global Detroit, a regional economic development strategy that looks at immigrants and internationals as a means of revitalizing metro Detroit’s economy.