Garlin and his wife Ellen are the proud parents of twins Garlin III and Emily Grace, who were born on Garlin’s birthday in 2013. Garlin and Ellen are raising their family in his hometown of Detroit.
Garlin was born and spent the first part of his childhood in Detroit. When he was four years old, he started public speaking at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Detroit, before further honing his skills at the knee of Dr. Frederick G. Sampson at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. He played basketball on every playground, and stretched his mind as a DAPCEP kid. Garlin’s parents are proud lifelong Detroiters. His mother worked at General Motors for 32 years, and his dad worked in defense contract management for the Department of Defense for 31 years. His mother is the President of their neighborhood associations in Detroit and Farmington, and his dad was Vice President. At age eight, Garlin’s parents moved their family to Farmington—he is a proud product of Detroit and Farmington public schools.
Garlin’s grandma made him the first kid on his block to have a computer when he was five years old. He started his first job fixing and building computers at age 16. With the first five computers he built, he set up a computer lab in his community’s recreation center to introduce people to technology. Garlin studied computer engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with honors in 2005. After graduating, Garlin spent four years as a software engineer at Microsoft in Seattle, where he helped build SharePoint into the fastest growing product in the company’s history. As Lieutenant Governor, Garlin will help move Michigan’s state government into the 21st century.
During his time in Seattle, Garlin served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, where he helped launch a national text message program to recruit volunteers. Garlin served as the first Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C., and spent three years as National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. He spearheaded equity and justice campaigns, including fighting to expand Medicaid in states with Republican governors, like Michigan.
In 2014, Garlin and Ellen chose to move home to Detroit and raise their children as Michiganders. Garlin started working for the City of Detroit as the first ever Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology, where he opened up the city’s public data and information and solved problems for Detroiters. Garlin created an app for Detroiters to report problems they were facing every day, like broken fire hydrants, potholes, and broken street lights.
Garlin has dedicated his career to fixing problems for hardworking families. He’s ready to use his experience as an organizer and an innovator to get things done for Michiganders across the state. As lieutenant governor, Garlin will immediately roll up his sleeves and get to work bringing our state government into the 21st century.