Morris W. Hood III, 47, serves as state senator for his constituents in the 3rd District -- Dearborn, River Rouge and part of Detroit.
Although his father, Morris Hood, Jr., served in the Michigan legislature, Hood did not plan to end up in politics.
“You really don’t pay attention to what your dad or mom does,” he said. “But you end up picking up things.”
Hood is one of the modern-day community leaders and trailblazers whom Patch is highlighting in recognition of Black History Month.
He said he’s most proud of his work in improving higher education. It was around 2007, he said, when he was appointed as chairman to the Joint Capital Outlay Committee that in part oversaw projects for community colleges and universities.
Out of the Committee came a bill that gets state funds to community colleges and universities, he said. He worked to get a new science building at Henry Ford Community College (HFCC) that opened in October.
“We were able to get a state match for that building,” he said.
Gail Mee, HFCC president, said Hood is exceptionally supportive of education and the College.
"Each year there is a very competitive program for Capital Outlay dollars," she said. "We were very fortunate to be able to work with Morris."
He also secured the first State Building Authority project for Wayne County Community College. Hood said higher education is becoming more necessary to get access to secure jobs.
“If we’re taking about creating jobs in the state of Michigan, we have to have an educated work force to fill those jobs when they come,” he said.
More recently, Hood responded to the language in an anti-bullying bill, which he described as a step backward in protecting Michigan’s students. Read about his other initiatives from last year here.
Hood tackles a multitude of issues as a state senator, but he said the constituents are his main focus and have a voice through his office.
“People have a place to call and someone answers the phone,” he said.
Hood Uses Roots, Assembly Line Experience to Connect with Constituents
Hood, who lives in Detroit, worked for seven years on the assembly line at the Ford Dearborn Engine and Fuel Tank Plant in the Rouge Complex. He said a part of the work he did there was to negotiate conflicts between employees.
“It was about getting two people to sit down and have a conversation and settle an issue,” he said.
That helped prepare him for his work in Lansing, Hood said. Before he had the idea to run for office, he said he and his co-workers talked about politics and local issues during lunch breaks at the plant.
When the 11th District State House seat was vacated, he said they started discussing who could run.
“A couple of buddies of mine at work said, ‘Why not? Let’s take a shot at it,’” Hood said, and they helped him campaign.
Hood said he lost when he first ran in 1998 but didn’t give up and won the election in 2002. He was then elected as state senator for the 3rd District in 2010.
“When I came into the legislature, it was fun – and it still is fun – to meet people all across the state,” he said.
Hood said he enjoys going to rural areas to talk to people about farming, mining, lumber and other issues unknown to urbanites.