Get to Know

Kent County Commissioner Phil Skaggs

Picture of Phil Skaggs Commissioner Phil Skaggs won the seat in District 19 (City of East Grand Rapids and part of Grand Rapids southeast side) in November. Commissioner Skaggs grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio, where his father was a professor of history at Bowling Green State University and his mother was an elementary school teacher. He completed his bachelor's degree in Russian Studies and graduate degree in History at the University of Michigan.

Commissioner Skaggs and his wife Beth Wells Skaggs lived in Washington D.C. and Moscow from 1994-2000. Like his father, he worked as a professor of history, teaching at Goucher College (Baltimore), Grand Valley State University, and Aquinas College. His first foray into area politics was in 2010, when he worked on the David LaGrand for State Senate campaign in 2010. "In 2012 I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the East Grand Rapids City Commission and won reelection to a full term in 2013," Commissioner Skaggs said. "I'm proud of what was accomplished during my five years as an East Grand Rapids City Commissioner. We balanced our budget; supported economic growth in Gaslight Village; focused on road, infrastructure and park improvements; passed a welcoming LGBT non-discrimination ordinance; supported our public safety officers; and significantly improved City communication with citizens. I ran for County Commission because I wanted to take the knowledge and skills I learned on the City Commission to the County Commission to continue working on behalf of the residents of Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids."

Commissioner Skaggs' wife Beth is an attorney at Varnum Law. They live in East Grand Rapids with their two daughters - Lainey and Julia - who both swim and play water polo for their school teams. "They do a great job at school, they work hard and show good sportsmanship in the pool on their teams, they're strong and independent young women, they live life in accordance with strong morals and values, and they're just good people that are a lot of fun to be around," Commissioner Skaggs beamed about his daughters. "They won't be in the house for too much longer and while I'll be devastated to not have them be physically present in my daily life, I'm confident and excited to watch them move into adulthood."