Name: Valerie “Val” Cochran Toops
Family: Married to David with two daughters.
Residence: I have lived in Michigan Center, Jackson County, for 19 years.
Occupation: I am a livestock farmer in Leoni Township, Vice-Chair of the Jackson County Democratic Committee, Vice-Chair of the Jackson County Democratic Women's Caucus, and member of the City of Jackson Human Relations Commission. I attend the 1st Congregational Church of Christ U.C.C. Jackson and am involved in the Social Concerns Committee. Also since 2008, on the HRC I have assisted as a judge and am currently the Chair for the 2017 Annual Theressa Delph Oratorical Essay Committee, and am currently an active member of the Jackson Area Civil Rights Awareness Assn., People for Peace, Juvenile Justice Coalition and Be More Kind groups in Jackson.
Why am I running?
As I have always been one given to serving the public, especially those who are less fortunate, and have many
years of experience as board member, vice-chair and chair of multiple private and government agencies, I feel that I am
qualified to represent the Democratic principles which are being savagely attacked by those lawmakers currently in
I was finally convinced to enter this race for after hearing of the Kalamazoo shooting. My husband is a restaurant manager in nearby Calhoun, who could have easily been a victim of this tragic event.
This atrocity like that of the Flint water crisis and many more problems throughout our state are the result of years of systematic undermining of the majority of the population by lawmakers who answer only to their wealthy donors and discriminatory beliefs
Income inequality, inadequate and unequal funding for education and the ignoring of Michigan’s infrastructure have lead our state to a place where 25% of our children live in poverty and there is a 22% high school dropout rate. We’ve suffered through this county’s largest inland oil spill and the poisoning of thousands of children by their own tap water.
We have a legislature which has over rode the will of the people by continuing to have an Emergency Manager system and constantly finds new ways to remove the population’s ability to be part of expressing its will. Too many of our laws are written by lobbyists who represent out of state interests and only serve to create profit for billionaires while Michigan’s beautiful and precious lands and waters are destroyed.
As an educated, experienced, hard working citizen of Michigan who is frightened as to what kind of Michigan we will leave our children and grandchildren, I ask for your support as I run to represent you the people of Michigan’s 65th District.
I was born in California. My father was a Sheet Metal Journeyman who owned his own contracting business & my mother was a musician and studio backup singer and vocational education teacher. My parents divorced and my Mom remarried. Then we started moving a lot since my new Dad was in the military and he would take new orders about every 2 years to a new location. We travelled to from West Coast to the East Coast and then to Europe and back. I particularly enjoyed the traveling to each new place, learning about the people there and enjoying the diversity of each new community. I had great fun making new friends, but it was always bittersweet leaving them when Dad would get his new orders. Studying about each new destination became a hobby for me to learn about each culture and local customs. When Dad asked if I would like to go to Europe, I said "Let's Go!". We packed up and moved to the Island of Sicily where we lived in a large Villa in a small town high on the slope of the active volcano Mt. Etna. I went to school on the Military base there and studied Italian language and became a scuba diver as a fun pastime. The Mediterrean Sea is a diver's paradise. I then learned about salvage and recovery diving and that became a lucrative pastime for me. Then, I met the love of my life, my husband David, a Ship's Navigator and Legal Officer when he was a young Lutiennent in the Navy. We came to settle in Michigan to be closer to his parents. His father was a retired Naval Commander and Nuclear Physicist & engineer living in Summit Township & mother a composer and publisher of Sacred music. David works for Cracker Barrel Corporation now. Our twin daughters graduated from Jackson High class of 2000 and are now grown and married. One lives in Leoni Township and the other in Blackman. We have been blessed with our first grandchild.
- Department of Defense Schools
- Richard Stockton State College of New Jersey
- Behavioral Science Studies focused on Constitutional Law, Police Administration and
Environmental Science & Law
- I am a certified Mediator through SRMS
- Jackson County Democratic Party Vice-Chair 2015 to present
- Human Relations Commission City of Jackson Ex-officio 2008 to present,
- Jackson Newcomers & Friends Vice President 2002 to 2011,
- Pozitive Living Michigan HIV/AIDS Awareness, Prevention & Outreach Director 2005
- Tecumseh Band Metis of Southern Michigan Non-denominational Aboriginal
Minister Ordination 2003
- Mixed Blood Assn. of Native Americans
- American Metis Aboriginal Association National Office Secretary & Founding Board
Member “Metis Lodge” 2000 to 2004
- American Metis Aboriginal Association Lodge of Michigan Founder & President
2000 to present
- Leh-Nah-Weh Native American Association Secretary & Board Member
- People of the Four Winds Council Founding Member & Board of Directors 1997
- Honoring Our Ancestors Traditional Pow Wow
- Event Chair/ Committees/ Participant
- Jinkamook, Mending the Sacred Hoop, Jackson Heritage Festival, Falling Waters
- Honoring Our Sisters Pow Wow, Pow Wow of Love, Saline/Ann Arbor Powwow