Virgil Bernero

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Virgil Bernero
Mayor of Lansing
Assumed office
January 1, 2006
Preceded by Antonio Benavides
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2006
Preceded by Joanne G. Emmons
Succeeded by Gretchen Whitmer
Personal details
Born (1964-03-31) March 31, 1964 (age 51)
Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Teri Bernero
Children Kelly
Alma mater Adrian College

Virgil "Virg" Bernero (born March 31, 1964) is the current mayor of Lansing, Michigan, elected on November 8, 2005 and re-elected on November 3, 2009. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to serving as mayor, Bernero served as a legislative aide, an Ingham County Commissioner and as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate. He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Michigan in 2010, losing in the November 2 general election to Republican Rick Snyder.[1]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Virg Bernero was born March 31, 1964 in Pontiac, Michigan in the Metro Detroit area. He was the youngest of five children born to Giulio, an Italian immigrant, and Virginia, a first generation Italian-American. Bernero has said that the diagnosis of schizophrenia in one of his brothers, and the death of another brother from AIDS in 1990 (on the same day he was elected to the Ingham County Commission) have helped to shape his life and politics.[2]

Bernero graduated from Waterford Mott High School in 1982, and from Adrian College in 1986, with a B.A. in political science. He is married to Teri Johnston, with whom he has two daughters, Kelly and Virginia. In 2007, Bernero appeared in the documentary Fired! by Annabelle Gurwitch. The film chronicles the experiences of individuals who have been fired from their jobs. In it, Bernero was interviewed about his efforts to pass a law that would make it illegal for Michigan employers to fire workers for engaging in otherwise legal conduct during their off-work hours.[3]

Political career[edit]

Michigan State Representative[edit]

Bernero ran for and won a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2000, serving one term before being elected to the Michigan State Senate in 2002.

Michigan State Senator[edit]

Bernero was elected to the Michigan Senate on November 5, 2002, and served there until his election as Mayor three years later.

Mayor of Lansing[edit]

Bernero was elected Mayor of Lansing on November 8, 2005.

Bernero was re-elected as mayor of Lansing in November 2009, winning against opponent Carol Wood.[4]

During Bernero's tenure, Lansing received more than $1 billion in new investments that created or retained more than 10,000 jobs. During potential revenue losses and rising costs, Bernero helped to eliminate more than $70 million in city budget deficits.[5]

His tenure as mayor was not without some criticism, as several political adversaries circulated a petition to have him recalled as mayor.[6] The petition ultimately failed to collect enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.

Campaign for Michigan Governor[edit]

Bernero officially announced his intention to run for Governor of Michigan on February 8, 2010.[7] On August 3, 2010, Bernero defeated primary challenger Andy Dillon by 90,326 votes or nearly 20 percentage points.[8] In the general election. Bernero lost to Republican Candidate Snyder, garnering 39.9% of the vote to Snyder's 58.11%.[9]


External links[edit]

Media related to Virgil Bernero at Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Senate
Preceded by
Joanne Emmons
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 23rd district

Succeeded by
Gretchen Whitmer
Political offices
Preceded by
Antonio Benavides
Mayor of Lansing
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jennifer Granholm
Democratic nominee for Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Mark Schauer