About Dan

Dan VandenHeede is running for state representative for Michigan's 78th district, which spans the southwest corner of the state. 

Dan is a teacher, coach, city councilman, family man and an avid runner who is running for change in Michigan.


Dan retired last year from 25 years of teaching in Michigan public schools. He coached cross country and track for most of those years. He has served on the Niles City Council for over 20 years, putting into practice the civics and government he taught in the classroom.


Dan and his wife, Jodie, met at Western Michigan University where he earned his bachelor’s and master's degrees in history. After living in Kalamazoo and Detroit, they returned to Dan’s hometown of Niles and raised their three children, Elizabeth, Sam and Kate.


Both at his job at Dowagiac Union High School and his hometown of Niles, Dan has been involved with, and at times helped to start, several groups and committees to address concerns of students and community members. He started groups focused on sustainability, gardening and peace studies at Dowagiac and was a founding member of Niles Community Gardens, served on the City of Niles Parks and Airport boards and currently chairs the Ordinance Committee for the Niles City Council. More recently, he created the “Hey Heico, Clean up your Mess in Niles” Facebook group that is working to address the blighted old National Standard property on Wayne Street in Niles.


Dan believes in empowering citizens and focusing government on people and their needs. Rather than having business and bureaucrats run Lansing, let's make Lansing work for us.