As Mayor of Lansing for 12 years, Virg led the city through the Great Recession, fought to save General Motors, and attracted more than $3 billion in new economic investments, creating thousands of good-paying jobs.


Read on to learn how Virg's leadership helped transform Lansing...

Saving General Motors

When General Motors was on the brink of collapse, Virg didn’t stand on the sidelines. He took action. Virg organized mayors from car towns across the nation and worked to save America’s largest automaker and secure critical support for the nation's auto communities.

The results? A federal rescue that helped GM survive and thrive, saving thousands of jobs across the Lansing region. Virg and his mayor's coalition asked President Obama to create the RACER Trust, the largest environmental remediation fund in U.S. history. More than $16 million was allocated to clean up GM’s former factory sites on the Lansing's West Side.

Just a few years later, Virg celebrated with GM and the UAW for yet another game changer -- bringing production of the legendary Chevrolet Camaro right here to Lansing.


Getting Rid of

Lansing's Lead Pipes

A decade before the Flint Water Crisis, then-Senator Bernero launched an investigation into Lansing’s lead pipes and persuaded the Board of Water & Light to expedite the removal of all 12,000 lead pipes across the city. The project was completed in 2016, making Lansing only the second city in America to get rid of its lead pipes, protecting generations of children and their families from the dangers of toxic lead poisoning.

Virg was also proud to be a key adviser during the Flint Water Crisis, offering strategic counsel to the city's mayor and providing key technical assistance from the Lansing BWL to help Flint get rid of their lead pipes as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Preserving Potter Park Zoo

When the city's financial challenges threatened to permanently close the Potter Park Zoo, Mayor Bernero came up with a better solution to save this tremendous community asset - a countywide millage that would generate enough money to keep the Zoo operating for years to come.  

Virg made the case that the Zoo is a regional attraction and that Lansing residents shouldn't be the only ones to pay for its operations and maintenance. Virg believes that regional assets like the Zoo and the RIver Trail should have regional financial support.

The regional millage was overwhelmingly approved by Ingham County voters. As a result of Virg's efforts, the Potter Park Zoo is now thriving and financially secure, ensuring that it will be open for future generations of Lansing families.


New Life for the

Ottawa Power Station

Mayor Bernero launched and led the effort to save the defunct Ottawa Power Station on the downtown riverfront.  Previous mayors tried to find a way to repurpose the massive structure, but nothing worked -- until Virg made it happen.

With the help of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), the old power station was transformed into the new national headquarters of the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America.

The $182 million project saved the iconic structure from further decay and probable demolition, kept food on the table for hundreds of skilled trades families during the recession, and kept hundreds of good jobs in the insurance industry right here in Lansing.

Real Leadership.  Real Results.