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Congratulations to resident, Bing Goei

Congratulations to the New Third Ward Commissioner!

We warmly invite you to extend your congratulations to our esteemed resident, Bing Goei, on his recent appointment as the interim Third Ward Commissioner. Mr. Goei’s journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1954, his family sought refuge in the Netherlands amidst tumultuous times. It was through the compassionate assistance of President Eisenhower’s programs that they found sponsorship to embark on a new chapter in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1960, they were graciously welcomed by the Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church community. Today, Mr. Goei’s appointment stands as a symbol of his unwavering commitment to serving our community and its diverse residents. Join us in celebrating this momentous occasion and in expressing our heartfelt support for Mr. Goei’s continued endeavors in public service.

Have you had any previous experience in government? 

I served in Gov Rick Snyder’s administration for 4 years from 2014-2018 as first Executive Director for the Michigan Office for New Americans. I was inspired to work in the area of immigration, attracting international student talent with the recognition that we needed some new talent for to shape our knowledge-based economy. 

Governer Snyder and I befriended each other when I ran for State House and he was running for Governor in 2010. During our campaign duration, we found some commonalities as business owners. We encouraged each other. In the end, he won, and I didn’t win. When he wanted to open this agency in his administration, he gave me a call and wanted to meet with me to offer the position of Executive Director of the Michigan Office for New Americans. 

What prompted you to apply for this position? 

I was inspired to apply for this position because no matter what stage or age we are at in our lives, we should do what we can do to be a blessing to the communities that we live in. I have noticed many areas in the third ward where I felt like I could contribute. My experience is in the area of economic development.  I felt like I wanted to bring that voice to the table and ask the city to review investment policies. We have a series of challenges in the third ward, and some significant assets in our third ward, so I seek to celebrate those assets and utilize them in a more efficient manner. 

In the Third Ward we have a poverty rate of 25%, which I think is totally unacceptable for a city that’s as rich and philanthropic as we are. This is something I would like to address. In addressing the issue of poverty, our entire community will see several benefits. Poverty creates extra pressures on our health care system. It can prevent our children from having good meals, and disrupt their focus at school, missing opportunities to receive education. If I can bring my expertise to address poverty in a way that the entire community will benefit. The Third Ward residents will benefit, and the whole city will. 

In the Third Ward, historically has been the “forgotten ward”. In the past, there were $1.2 billion of investments in Grand Rapids, and at that time, only $19 million of that was invested in the third ward.

The Third Ward has great education in its public schools, Calvin University, and GR Christian Schools Association. We have a strong small business community, but it is small in numbers, so there is room for growth in our small business economy. How do we recruit new businesses to come into the third ward, how do we use our talent in the third ward? What are the employment needs? We need to receive the appropriate investments to help us boost those opportunities for the third ward. 

In the short time that I will be there, this is what I want to focus on. I want to find some solutions to those challenges. Those are my hopes and dreams. 

What is meaningful for you about this role? 

I was sworn in on Tuesday night at the city commission, which was a long night with a public hearing. At my ceremony, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the democratic process. Hearing the public speak, and to see all these community members come to express their concerns, is an example of what I believe is so important living in a democracy: to be able to see people express their voices. Where I came from, and where my family fled from, they were not able to do that. It’s important to be part of that and to be a part of that democracy of the United States.

I am honored and at the same time saddened to be the first Asian American to serve on the commission. I will work hard to make sure I’m not the last.

You belong here.

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Beacon Hill at Eastgate is a distinctive, not-for-profit retirement community located in Grand Rapids’ desirable Eastgate neighborhood.

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