Wes Nakagiri

Livingston County Commissioner 

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 A long-time voice for efficient, effective, and accountable government, Wes Nakagiri is honored to represent the citizens of Livingston’s 3rd County Commission District. The 3rd District includes all of Tyrone Township and most of Hartland Township.

Commissioner Nakagiri has spent his entire career as an engineer and engineering manager in the automotive industry. He received his engineering degree from General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan (now called Kettering University). He then went on to receive a Masters Degree in Applied Statistics from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

From his childhood days, Commissioner Nakagiri learned the value of hard work as he delivered newspapers, pumped gas (in the days before self-serve gas stations), and worked as a farm laborer in the hot California summers.

In between work and school, he found time for athletic and academic competition. He won his city’s Punt, Pass, and Kick competition and was the catcher on his Little League baseball team that went 15-0 to capture the city championship. In addition to the athletic competition, he also enjoyed academic competition, once winning his city's recreational chess tournament.

During his professional career, in the fast-paced and highly competitive automotive industry, Nakagiri became known as someone who delivers results while working with colleagues in a collaborative and respectful manner. With his background in engineering and statistics, along with his “out-of-the-box” thinking, Nakagiri led numerous project teams in troubleshooting the toughest problems while improving operational efficiencies and increasing the bottom line.

Commissioner Nakagiri’s life experiences prepared him well to tackle the diversified challenges in the public policy arena. Serving the citizens of Livingston County, Nakagiri combines the strong work ethic learned as a young boy, the will to achieve learned from athletic and academic competitions, and keen problem-solving skills learned as an automotive engineer, to deliver well-thought-out policy solutions for Livingston County residents. He understands that delivering optimum results for citizens requires detailed knowledge of all sides of the issues. As such, he has developed a reputation for asking lots of questions - as his colleagues on the Board have seen first hand.

With a strong love of country, Nakagiri believes that each generation of Americans has an obligation to pass along a better America to the next generation. This is, in his view, achieving the American Dream. He is committed to continuing this dream for our next generations as he serves the citizens of Livingston County.

Commissioner Nakagiri has lived in Livingston County for over 20 years. He attends St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Christian Church in Fenton. He resides in Hartland Township with Donna, his wife of 34 years, and her mother Carol.

More about Commissioner Nakagiri

His grandparents emigrated to America from Japan in the early 1900s. They settled in California and became sharecroppers, earning their living growing tomatoes and other vegetables.

During World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt used Executive Order 9066 to incarcerate Wes’ maternal grandparents and their children. The family lost all of their possessions as they were transferred to three different internment camps for the duration of the war. Wes elaborated on this portion of his family history during the 2018 campaign as he rebutted the politically- motivated and false accusation that he condoned white supremacy. A portion of that rebuttal is repeated below as it helps put in perspective his world view.

" . . .The absurdity of her allegation of white supremacy would have been crystal clear had Ms. Helton opted to have a civil dialogue with me or at least done basic background research. (What makes this more alarming is that Ms. Helton is a former journalist! And some wonder why the term “fake news” is being used more and more.)A civil dialogue would have provided these additional facts, that despite Roosevelt’s actions during WWII, my parents raised me with a great love of America. My parents never used the harsh rhetoric that seems to be so popular now, coming from the other side, to demonize America. In fact, here is my family’s story:

After the war, my parents returned to California to rebuild their lives from scratch. Striving for the “American Dream” my parents started a family and had three children. Myself, my brother, and my sister. I’ve concluded that my parents attained their “American Dream” as each of their children have a better life than they had. You see my brother is a certified public accountant (CPA), my sister is an executive, and I am a mechanical engineering executive. Only in America, within the span of one generation, did the children of immigrants go from having lost everything to raising all of their own children to become successful professionals. I will always be grateful for the perseverance my parents showed. Further, I will always be grateful that my parents did not hold a grudge against America for their treatment. Rather than become embittered about their situation they chose to work hard to rebuild their lives and provide a better future for me and my siblings. My parent’s behavior taught me the importance of forgiveness. It is a valuable life lesson that sticks with me today . . ."