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The Lookout | October 19, 2018

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County Clerk got her start at LCC

County Clerk got her start at LCC
The Lookout

Jeremy Kohn
Editor in Chief

On March 22, 2014, the U.S. District Court overturned Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Within hours, history was made as the first same-sex marriage in the state was performed by LCC alumnus Barb Byrum, the clerk of Ingham County.

Byrum, 38, attended LCC from 1994 to 1997 while she was still attending Leslie High School. She said she remembers especially enjoying computer programming and Spanish classes.

“There was always a group of us that would have similar classes together and we would find ourselves in the computer lab before class,” she said. “There was a lot of camaraderie … I assume there still is a lot of camaraderie amongst the students at LCC. I feel it when I go back and visit campus.

“It was an extremely pleasant experience and I am so glad I got my start at LCC, because it really helped pave my way for success later on.”

Byrum worked for her parents’ business, Byrum Hardware in Leslie, while she attended LCC.

“I grew up in a family business, so hard work and honesty has always been instilled in me,” she said.

After LCC, Byrum attended Michigan State University, where she studied agribusiness with an emphasis on crop and soil science. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1999.

She returned to Michigan State to earn a degree in law in 2004.

Shortly after, she refinanced her house and bought a hardware store.  She said she has been the proud owner of Byrum Hardware in Charlotte since 2004.

“Owning your own business is an incredible risk, but it also holds such incredible rewards,” she said.

Byrum entered politics in 2007, running for state representative. She was following in the footsteps of her mother, Dianne Byrum, a former state representative and state senator.

A lack of candidates with her own values, plus the encouragement from the community, led Byrum to enter politics, she said.

Byrum, a Democrat, served three terms as state representative. At times she was chair of the local government committee and vice chair of agriculture. She also served on commerce, education and health policy committees.

“Politics was something I didn’t think I would ever pursue,” Byrum said.  “My mom was a county commissioner, a state rep (and) she ran for congress, so politics somehow runs in my blood.”

One of Byrum’s most notable acts involved her and Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown being silenced on the House floor during an omnibus abortion debate.

“I was silenced for saying the word ‘vasectomy’ and she was silenced for saying ‘vagina,’” Byrum said.

After this occurred, Byrum recruited the writer of The Vagina Monologues to perform the show on Michigan’s Capitol steps in a sign of protest.

After serving as a state representative, Byrum ran for Ingham County Clerk, where she has served for three years.

Her duties as clerk include conducting all elections in Ingham County. She is also in charge of the county’s marriage, birth and death certificates. All military discharges and concealed weapons licenses are also handled under her watch.

Ingham County Chief Deputy County Clerk Jennifer Shuster spoke about working with Byrum.

“I am very honored to work for Clerk Byrum on a daily basis,” Shuster said. “She is a very engaged county clerk and passionate about serving the residents of Ingham County.”

Byrum said she plans to run for re-election after her term is complete.

Byrum is married to Brad Delaney and has two children. They live in Onondaga Township. To learn more about Byrum and her duties, visit the Ingham County Clerk’s website at cl.ingham.org/

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