4-H alumnus Domonique Clemons elected to serve as Genesee County Commissioner for 4th District

Domonique Clemons
Domonique Clemons

A dream fulfilled: 4-H participation as a youth was the catalyst for a career in government.

When high school sophomore Domonique Clemons job shadowed 4th District County Commissioner John Northrup during the  Genesee County 4-H Citizenship Academy, he had no idea he would be elected as a county commissioner in the exact same seat as Commissioner Northrup, 10 years later. Yet it was that experience that helped to light the spark for Clemons’ future educational and career choices.

“My 4-H involvement instilled in me that everyone can have an impact on government on all levels, regardless of age or background,” said Clemons.

As a youth, Clemons, a Michigan 4-H alumnus from Flint and 2018 Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee, spent three years in Michigan State University Extension programs like 4-H Capitol Experience and  the Genesee County 4-H Citizenship Academy. He then worked for 4-H for five years, serving as a student assistant for 4-H leadership and civic engagement while attending MSU to obtain a bachelor’s degree in public policy. Clemons credits these 4-H experiences for helping to develop the foundation for his current career in local government.

“4-H was not only a program that I was able to learn about different things, and meet new friends, but it also was very important in my development,” said Clemons. “It was my participation in 4-H that taught me important skills like communication, leadership, organizational skills, how to use Robert’s Rules of Order, how to shake hands with someone, and how to be an active citizen in my community. Many of these skills I still use today. 4-H provided a foundation for my leadership development and gave me the opportunity to sharpen my skills and put them to use as a youth participant as well as a student assistant on staff.”

After graduating from MSU, Clemons went on to obtain a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University before starting his political career in 2019 as the legislative director for State Representative Alex Garza (D-Taylor). Since then, his roles have grown to include treasurer for both the Genesee County Democratic Party and Young Democrats of Genesee County, as well as becoming the executive director of the Genesee County Leadership Corps. In November 2020, he was elected to the position of 4th District Genesee County Commissioner and after taking office in January 2021, he was elected vice-chairman of the board and chair of the Public Works Committee.

Despite his busy schedule, Clemons continues his involvement with 4-H today as a volunteer, supporting the 4-H Capitol Experience as a guest speaker and for several years as a judge for the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program. He encourages others to join the 4-H program as well, to help explore their own interests and build the foundation for their future.

“4-H is a great resource for young folks to learn skills, make new friends, and explore career options,” said Clemons. “Often, 4-H is seen as something that is only for kids interested in farming and animals, but that is certainly not the case. 4-H has so many programs and resources for everyone. As a student who grew up in an urban setting, 4-H had a huge impact on me, and I would highly encourage inner city and urban students to get just as involved with 4-H.”

To learn more about Michigan 4-H as a youth member or volunteer, visit 4h.msue.msu.edu.

2022 Emerald Clover Society.
2022 Emerald Clover Society.
The 2022 Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society.

Outstanding Michigan 4-H alumni, volunteers, youth, staff and partners were recognized Sept. 30 during the 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration in East Lansing. Awards presented at the event, which was hosted by Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Foundation, are among Michigan 4-H’s highest honors for adults.

“It was great to come together to celebrate the remarkable individuals that make up our 4-H community,” said Julie Chapin, state 4-H leader for Michigan and director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “There is a rich history of 4-H in our state and there is a lot to celebrate, from our current youth to our outstanding alumni, and our dedicated volunteers to our commendable partners.”

The 4-H Citation Awards, the highest recognition presented by Michigan 4-H, recognizes significant contributions to Michigan 4-H programs. This year, the honor was awarded to the Michigan Community Service Commission and to Michael and Winifred Tate.

The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors Michigan 4-H alumni whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership. Inducted into the 2022 class were Gail R. Frahm, Saginaw; Larry J. Gould, Morenci; Jon D. Hausserman, Fenwick; L. Janel Horrocks-Boehmer, Williamston; Alice A. Kempf, Holton; Karen Kolberg Kietzer, Stevensville; Dian M. Liepe, Pullman; Sarah J. Pion, Cassopolis; Rachael N. Ramirez, Birch Run; Melissa A. Souva, Bronson; Schawna M. Thoma, Anchorage, Alaska; and Mary J. Yeomans, Midland.

The 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards honor remarkable 4-H volunteers who have contributed substantially to both their county and state 4-H programs. This year, the 2023 Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award was presented to Michelle (Anders) McNamara of St. Joseph County and the 2023 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Kim Wright of Dickinson County.

The Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards, which recognize 4-H volunteers who exhibit excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership in agriculture-related areas, were presented in 2023 to Katheryn Bell of Oakland County, Marie Curell of Lapeer County, Melissa Barnett LaForest of Wayne County and Dione M. Oliver of Alpena County.

Also recognized at the event were the award honorees from 2019 through 2022. In 2022, honorees were David Cox of Jackson County, Vicki Rau of Ogemaw County, and Karen Scovill of Shiawassee County. In 2021, honorees were Dave Galer of Macomb County and Madaline Knight of Muskegon County. In 2020, honorees were Stacy Hough of Mecosta County and Cristie M. Warren of Washtenaw County. In 2019, honorees were Beth Clark of Shiawassee County, the late Vera Kempf of Newaygo County and Andrew Walker of Ogemaw County.

Fifty-year 4-H volunteers from 2021, 2022 and 2023 were recognized at the event, as well as winners of the 2023 MSU 4-H Scholarships and an MSU Extension 4-H staff member retiring in 2023.

“We’re grateful to continue this strong partnership of recognizing Michigan’s outstanding 4-H community through a day of celebration and camaraderie,” said Abbey Miller, director of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. “It’s always enjoyable to salute our honorees alongside our 4-H friends and family.”

The Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration was hosted by MSU Extension Associate Director Matt Shane, a Kent County 4-H alumnus and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. To learn more about previous honorees in each of these award categories, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/.