BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Mari Manoogian on August 7 won the Democratic nomination as candidate for Michigan state representative for District 40.
Mari Manoogian was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan. She attended Birmingham Public Schools and graduated with honors from Seaholm High School.
Mari’s great-grandparents escaped the Armenian Genocide and came to the United States in the early 1920s. Her father’s and mother’s families arrived in Michigan via Ellis Island, and ultimately settled in the Detroit area, due to the promise of jobs and a vibrant Armenian-American community. Her grandfather’s family rented a farm in Monroe, MI, and sold produce in the local neighborhoods. Her grandfather enlisted in the Army during World War II. He benefited from the GI Bill, training to eventually become an award-winning hairdresser. He worked in Birmingham and Southfield for more than fifty years. Her grandmother raised her four children in the family’s Allen Park home.
On her mother’s side, Mari’s grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to own several small businesses across Detroit and Oakland County. Following her graduation from Southwestern High School in Detroit, Mari’s grandmother worked in a bank until she married Mari’s grandfather. She raised their four children in Detroit and Southfield-Lathrup.
Mari’s mother and father met through Mari’s uncle, who has been a close friend of her father since childhood. Today, Mari’s mom is a small-business owner and vocational rehabilitation counseling expert. Mari’s dad took a job as a cable splicer at Detroit Edison after high school. During his career at Edison he also held various positions with the union. He was elected and served as President of Local 223, the union which represents Detroit Edison’s workers, from 1988 to 1997. He worked in the utility industry for fifty years, and retired in 2016 as Chief of Staff of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO. Mari’s younger sister, Alis, is also a graduate of Seaholm High School. She’s currently a senior at the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.
From a young age, Mari’s family instilled in her a strong work ethic. She began babysitting in the local community when she was twelve and spent summers and breaks during high school and college waiting tables at Hunter House Hamburgers. Mari earned a varsity letter in figure skating, was an award-winning high school journalist, and played several seasons of basketball for St. John Armenian Church in the Orthodox Athletic League. She figure-skated competitively, and was a member of the Figure Skating Club of Birmingham for fifteen years.