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 Emily Rohrbach is running for Madison Heights City Council on a campaign that includes efforts to restore the tree canopy.

Emily Rohrbach is running for Madison Heights City Council on a campaign that includes efforts to restore the tree canopy.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Rohrbach runs for Madison Heights City Council

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 10, 2019


MADISON HEIGHTS — For Emily Rohrbach, this isn’t her first time running for a seat on the Madison Heights City Council. Her first attempt was in 2017, when she came up just 350 votes short. 

Now she’s back to try again, driven by what she describes as a deep love for the city and a belief that elected officials should be sincere servants of the community. She has been a resident of the city for the last 15 years. 

“My husband and I bought our first house in Madison Heights because we loved the nice neighborhoods, tree-lined streets, the proximity to family, and because it was such a great location right in the middle of metro Detroit. But we really didn’t know then that we would fall in love with the city and the people of Madison Heights,” Rohrbach said. 

“After the real estate market crashed in 2009, we were so far underwater in our home that we stayed longer than we had originally planned. So, in 2016, with three kids and feeling like we were bursting at the seams in our house, we started thinking about moving,” she said. “We looked everywhere, considered all our options — but in the end, we realized that we loved Madison Heights. 

“We realized no other city in the area could provide the kind of life we want for our children,” she said. “The houses were solid and lovely, yet affordable. The city services were better than any other in the region, and our neighbors were kind, thoughtful and welcoming. We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. And so we have laid down our roots here — and we’re so happy that we did!”

In the years since her first run for council, Rohrbach has continued to immerse herself in the community in the form of public service. In 2017, she was appointed to the Madison Heights Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and she also began serving on the board of directors for a nonprofit, ReLeaf Michigan, that aims to plant trees in public places across the state. She was also elected as a precinct delegate.

As a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Rohrback formed a subcommittee that is focused on getting more people involved with volunteering and special projects. She proposed a community garden project for the city’s parks and led an initiative to clean up the thoroughfare of John R Road this past spring. 

As for why she wants to join the City Council, she said her reason is simple.

“As a mother to three young children, I’m committed to investing myself in Madison Heights so that it is a great place to raise a family,” Rohrbach said. “Local government has the most impact on our everyday lives, and I want to be a voice for everyone in our city.” 

She said that her governing style would include open and transparent budgeting, support for economic development, preserving and restoring parks and green spaces, and ensuring that the city’s neighborhoods are safe, making Madison Heights a place where people will want to buy homes and invest in businesses. 

“I believe I have the skills and experience to be an effective representative of the people,” Rohrbach said.

Her professional background is in marketing, communications and fundraising, and she has also worked in sales and program management. For a while, Rohrbach was a stay-at-home parent — experience that helps her to understand the needs of families. Currently, she works as a campaign manager and consultant. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education from Harding University and a master’s degree in training and development from Oakland University. She said she has a strong background in crafting strategic plans, one that would benefit the council as it updates the city’s master plan.   

Looking ahead, she is especially eager to restore the city’s tree canopy.

“There is a looming crisis for our city in regards to our trees,” Rohrbach said. “When most of the neighborhoods in the city were established, almost every home planted a silver maple in the right of way in front of their house. In those conditions, silver maples typically have a 50-year life span. We are at or beyond that healthy life span for most of our silver maples. 

“The city must have a long-term, sustainable plan for replacing those trees with a more diverse, healthy stock of trees,” she said. “This initiative will go a long way toward preserving not only the important character and beauty of our city, but also help with energy efficiency in our homes, improve home values, and boost the health and success of our children.”

Call Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at (586) 279-1104.