Phil Phelps was born on May 1st 1979 in Flint Michigan to Walter and Sharon Phelps. Phil’s father, a disabled veteran, worked for General Motors Metal Fabrication in Flint. During the 80’s Walter suffered a terrible workplace injury and the family had to fight a long battle for workers compensation during which they lost their home and Sharon had to take a job with a local bank to keep food on the table. Phil’s family had to fight through adversity many times. Working hard and overcoming adversity has become a hallmark of Phil’s life and career.
Phil focused on biology, horticulture, and landscape architecture while in high school and loved volunteering on community beautification projects with his father and with the Boy Scouts of America. Phil began working on farms and in a greenhouse while attending high school and began paying taxes at the age of 15. He knows the value of hard work and has had to earn everything he has.
Phil studied at Mott Community College and at the University of Michigan Flint. While in college Phil was the President of the University of Michigan Flint College Democrats and a member of Political Science National Honor Society Pi Sigma Alpha. Phil began volunteering for Congressman Dale Kildee at the age of 13, but it was in his years at the University of Michigan that he discovered public service was both a passion and a talent. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2006 while working on Governor Granholm’s reelection campaign and acting as a spokesman for the Genesee Health Plan’s ballot initiative. After the campaign he took a position in the Michigan State House Democratic Communications office where he worked for 8 Democratic members from the Mid-Michigan area. Shortly thereafter he was tapped by Lt. Governor John Cherry to become a regional director of external affairs for the Granholm-Cherry administration. During his time as a regional director Phil was a point of contact for many local leaders and had involvement with many economic development projects across Michigan. Phil left the executive office to help a tech start-up company move to the commercialization phase of their development and then rejoined the state legislature as a special advisor for House Democratic Leader Richard Hammel and adamantly fought against the so called right to work laws and attempts to limit the choice of women across Michigan. After Hammel left the legislature he became Chief of Staff for incoming Representative Pam Faris in 2013. He left his position with Faris in April of 2013 to pursue his candidacy for Michigan’s 49th State House District. Phil continues his involvement in progressive politics, advocating for social justice and working men and women.