|Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 3rd district
5th District (2011–2012)
January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2014
|Preceded by||Bert Johnson|
|Succeeded by||Wendell Byrd|
July 12, 1981 |
|Children||Eliezra (born 2009)
Keziah (born 2010)
Azariah (born 2012)
Emmanuel (born 2013)
|Alma mater||University of Michigan (B.A.) Northern Illinois University College of Law(J.D.)
UCL Faculty of Laws
John Olumba (born July 12, 1981) is an Independent Democrat serving his second term as a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. He represents the 3rd house district located in Wayne County, which comprises the north central and eastern portions of Detroit. After serving one term on the House Judiciary, Commerce, Economic Development, and Trade Committees, Olumba now serves on the House Appropriations Committee as the chairman of Fiscal Oversight, and as a member on Community Health, and Corrections.
Early life, college, law school
Olumba was born in Detroit and lived mostly on its east side with his mother and four sisters. He attended Miller Middle School, a school popularized by other well known politicians in Detroit such as Coleman Young and Erma Henderson. Olumba attended high school at (Lewis) Cass Technical High School in Detroit and is a graduate of the University of Michigan with dual concentrations in economics and political science. He earned his law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law and studied at the University College of London Faculty of Laws as a supplement to the curriculum. After finishing law school in 2007, Olumba worked at a homeless mission, Shelters of Love Inc. and at Starbucks Coffee before seeking office. Following an unsuccessful first bid for the state house in 2008 and a run for the Detroit charter commission, Olumba worked as a school administrator. Olumba won on his second attempt at being a representative.
Chairman of Fiscal Oversight Committee
In 2014 Olumba earned the chairmanship over the house appropriations subcommittee of fiscal oversight. Perhaps historical, this marks one of the first times where a representative not in the majority party maintains a chairmanship of a committee.
Investigations into Wayne County Executive
As a representative, Olumba's notoriety increased after formally initiating a federal investigation into the offices of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and reports of backlash surfaced. Olumba said he received threatening phone calls and elected officials visited him at his home uninvited in order to coerce him into retracting his investigation. Olumba said two of his Democratic colleagues handed him a retraction letter on the floor of the House of Representatives that he eventually handed over to federal authorities. Thus far, the investigation has yielded two indictments and one conviction.
Toward the end of his first term, Olumba also sought an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General into Detroit Mayor Dave Bing over money he said was misappropriated from two city departments.
State Representative: 2010–2012
In August 2010, Olumba won the state's most crowded primary with 16 people seeking office by a 2 to 1 margin over the closest competitor. Olumba was elected in November 2010 in a landslide victory to serve in the 96th legislature of the State of Michigan. Although Olumba is a native of Detroit, Olumba's father migrated to Detroit from Africa as a student-activist during the Nigerian Civil War and, once elected, Olumba became the first Nigerian elected to a state office in Michigan history.
Olumba caused controversy within the Michigan House Democratic Caucus when he accused the caucus of allowing the Emergency Manager Law Public Act 4 to pass with immediate effect when they could have blocked its passage by engaging in a filibuster. Olumba is also known for his introduction of a series of bills he named the Detroit Reinvestment and Restructuring Omnibus designed to revitalize the city. It is the largest bill package intended for the municipality in history.
Olumba served on the House Judiciary and Commerce Committees in addition to a special subcommittee on Economic Development and Trade.
State Representative: current term
In his first term, Olumba represented the 5th house district which also included the cities of Highland Park and Hamtramck. Olumba was redistricted into the 3rd district and, following a contentious primary election in which Olumba defeated another incumbent, Olumba won the general with 96 percent of the vote. The 3rd district is the only entirely Detroit house district.
On February 19, 2013, Olumba left the Michigan House Democratic Caucus to become an Independent Democrat. He no longer caucused with the Democrats, citing the lack of an urban or African American agenda. Olumba argued that Detroit is the highest tax entity in the state yet, there are no African Americans or Detroiters on the Tax Policy Committee and they are underrepresented on the Appropriations Committee. He is the founder of the Democratic Independent Urban Caucus.
Family and personal life
John Olumba met Charsha Mauldin while in undergrad at the University of Michigan. They were married in 2008 after she returned from Peace Corps service in West Africa. They have three daughters: Eliezra, Keziah and Azariah; and one son, Emmanuel. He is also a licensed minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
- Secretary of State (Michigan) election results
- WXYZ Channel 7 Action News Detroit
- Michigan Secretary of State Website.
- Kathleen, Gray (February 19, 2013). "State Rep. John Olumba of Detroit leaves Democratic Party, citing racial slights". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- "2010 Official Michigan General Election Results - 5th District State Representative".
- "2012 Official Michigan General Election Results - 3rd District State Representative".