Daniel Rivera is well on his way to a political career that he’s hoping will lead to being elected the first Latino and Gen Z candidate of his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The current elections systems coordinator for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters leads clerk-level engagement strategy and support for ensuring voting rights and election protection for the Wolverine State.
Rivera shares his extension community-building activity, his work in the US House of Representatives, and his love of a solo moving outing.
What do you do today?
As Michigan League of Conservation Voters’ elections system coordinator, my main role is to build community power, through election official engagement. I lead our clerk engagement strategy and support voting rights and election protection in Michigan. I also create TikTok and Instagram reels to help Michigan voters understand their newly established voting rights.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
Landing a job with the US House of Representatives. I took me five years to get my first Yes. I never gave up, continued to apply, got more experience under my belt, and got my chance to work in our nation’s capital.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
Serving as an example to my siblings and cousins. I am the first to attend college, graduate, and leave home for a job. I know I have shown them that they are capable of reaching for the stars.
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
I’ve always benefited from mentorship. Seeking advice from my mentors, especially if they have more experience or knowledge in the area, as their perspective has often provide valuable insight.
What do you do today to impact your community?
I am a member of the board of trustees for the Ferris State University Latin@ Alumni Association. My focus on the board is to support current students through scholarships and endowment funds and ensure that Latin@ alumni have the opportunity to volunteer and connect with their alma mater. I am also a board member for the Mayor’s Next Gen Advisory Board. My role is to help advise the mayor of Grand Rapids with a next generation perspective on issues that affect members of Gen Z.
Describe yourself in five words.
Adventurous, ambitious, social, creative, proactive.
What are your future goals?
I plan to run for public office and be one of the first Latino Gen Z elected officials in my hometown.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
I have many, but my favorite is going to the movie theaters, buying a large popcorn, and watching a movie by myself.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
I’m a painter, when I’m not working, I enjoy painting acrylic portraits.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
It truly is an honor and a privilege to be recognized among fellow peers, leaders and colleagues in the industry. Making this year’s 30 Under 30 gives me the opportunity to represent my generation and continue to build the pipeline or younger Latin@ leaders in policy.
What is your personal theme song?
“Don’t Dream it’s Over” by Crowded House
What is your Latino background?
I am Mexican American. I am a proud Michigander born and raised in Grand Rapids. Both my mother and father are from Guadalajara, Jalisco. They immigrated to the United States when they were eighteen years old.
Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.