David Lossing, 49, is a registered lobbyist for the University of Michigan, director of Government Relations for U-M-Flint, president of the Michigan Municipal League and last but not least ... mayor of the city of Linden. He still finds time to do things that are important to him, most recently, donating his blood marrow through the “Be the Match” program.
People see you locally as mayor of Linden, and many probably don’t realize you also have a full-time job. I’ve always wanted to work at U of M, and now I’ve worked there for almost 13 years, now in Flint and before that in Ann Arbor. I’m also a registered lobbyist for U of M, so I spend a lot of time in Lansing. I’m in my fourth academic year at U of M Ann Arbor as a member of the teaching faculty. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have a chance to be on faculty.
What do you teach? I’m one of four who teaches a total of 140 students in a web-based class platform entitled “Michigan Student Caucus.” Students participate in the legislative process by writing their own resolutions in six different areas like health and human services, business and economic development, etc. All the students vote for the top one or two resolutions, which then get presented to a panel of real legislators at the end of the semester. The legislators ask questions and challenge the students’ assumptions. It‘s a great process, and has given me the inspiration to go back to school to get my PhD.
What is your educational background? I’ve earned my bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist degrees. I just applied to Colorado State University for their PhD program. It will take me about three or four years. To me, education is a lifelong thing.
What’s it like to be president of the Michigan Municipal League? I love policy work, it’s in my DNA. The MML represents 554 cities, villages and some townships in Michigan and serves as a statewide advocacy for government. We’re doing a lot with a ‘Town & Gown’ initiative, providing interaction between cities that host institutions of higher learning. Michigan is reinventing itself and education is the key. The work I do in higher ed and the municipal league is a nice mix. I’m a policy junkie. I’m hoping we’ll work together to find common ground.
What about your work as mayor in Linden? The old Union Block is what still drives me. My goal is to find a developer who can rebuild what we’ve lost (in the fire in 2007). In 2107, 100 years after the fire, I’d like the residents to be proud of what we were able to put in that space.
As mayor, what are your responsibilities? My main responsibilities on paper are to run city council meetings, sign ordinances and resolutions and conduct wedding ceremonies. But I like to do a lot more than that. I serve on the planning commission and as chairman of the Downtown Development Authority to create an action plan for downtown. My goal is to have the Union Block area done in two years. I’m good through 2014. Good things take time, so I try to be patient. Suzanne and I have lived here since 1996. We love it here. After the fire, the outpouring of public support was amazing. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.
What do you like to do in your spare time? We walk, bike and kayak all over the place. We take our dogs Isabelle and Fritz with us. Isabelle jumps in the kayak and waits for us. I’m also a ‘Lost’ fanatic. I’m almost done watching all six seasons and I just started in November. I’m anal retentive and obsessive compulsive. I acknowledge it, embrace it and make fun of it!
What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you in 2012? After having routinely gotten a cheek swab in a bone marrow drive through the ‘Be the Match’ program on campus in 2006, I got a phone call six and a half years later last October that I was possibly a good match for an international patient with acute leukemia. Following more extensive blood tests and physicals, it was determined I was the best match for a bone marrow transplant. I underwent the procedure in December (see related story in this issue).
Would you do it again? I’d do it in a heartbeat. It totally changed my perspective. You can talk about changing the world, but with this, you can save someone’s life. I want to educate others so that more people will get on the registry. I hope I can meet the man someday.