Anita Ashford Receives 2023 Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award

Morgan Schwanky
Michigan Municipal League
[email protected], 734-669-6320


ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Port Huron Councilmember and former Michigan Municipal League Board Vice President Anita Ashford recently received the Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award from the Michigan Municipal League.

The Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award celebrates a person dedicated to public service who has shown passion and commitment to the League, enthusiastically supporting its mission and promoting its purpose.

“From everyone at the League, I would like to congratulate Anita on receiving this award,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the League. “Anita’s passion for public service has made its mark within local government. Her groundbreaking work has helped and will continue to pave the way for future leaders. Her commitment to supporting the League’s mission, especially our education programs, is inspiring.”

Anita Ashford serves as Councilmember for the City of Port Huron, having also served in the role of mayor pro tern.

Anita’s trailblazing spirit has broken barriers and shattered glass ceilings. She made history as the first Black woman to be elected Vice President of the League’s Board of Trustees, leaving an indelible mark on Michigan municipal leadership. Her involvement with the National Association of Regional Councils Board of Directors further showcases her commitment to enhancing the lives of citizens. Anita also served as chairperson of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, making her the first Black woman to hold the position. Her list of achievements reflects her outreach of service from local to regional and national platforms.

Anita has been active in the League and its activities. She currently serves on the board of the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and on the Elected Officials Academy Board of Directors. She is a firm believer in the importance of educating municipal officials and actively encourages peers to participate in the EOA. She is quick to assist whenever she is called upon, whether it’s to moderate or present a League session, or co-author a publication for MBC­LEO. After learning about community wealth building, Anita created the Connect One-on-One program for MBC-LEO to help members build relationships based on trust and belonging.

Beyond her public service, Anita is deeply rooted in the community she calls home. As a lifelong resident of the City of Port Huron, Anita holds an unwavering passion for its prosperity. Professionally, she’s served DTE Energy Company as a continuous improvement specialist. Anita has an associate in criminal justice from St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron and a bachelor’s in human resource management from Concordia in Ann Arbor. Her expertise as a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, coupled with a multitude of other certifications, showcases her relentless pursuit of excellence.

The Jim Sinclair Award was presented during this year’s Michigan Municipal League Convention, which took place in Traverse City.

“This award is an awesome honor that I will cherish and be greatly inspired to continue serving in my role as an elected official,” said Ashford.

Download and view photos from our award winners here on the League’s Flickr page:

For additional information contact the League’s Morgan Schwanky, Content Developer, Marketing and Communications, at (734) 669-6320 and [email protected].

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at


©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved