Flint, Michigan, Democrat Mayor Sheldon Neeley does not have a bachelor’s degree in communications despite biographies claiming that he did for years on multiple official websites and a government document.
Numerous websites with Neeley’s biography claimed he graduated from Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) with a bachelor’s degree in communications, but Fox News Digital reached out to the university, and it confirmed Neeley only attended and never graduated. When asked about the phony claim, Neeley’s office deflected the blame to a staffer, and said he “has been clear from the beginning” about only receiving an associates degree from Delta College and studying for a time at SVSU.
“Any legislative biography that said otherwise was a compounded oversight made by a political staffer. Mayor Neeley has worked to set the record straight,” a spokesperson for the city said in a statement, according to ABC 12 News.
Multiple official websites, including the city’s website for a time, falsely credited Neeley with a bachelor’s degree, and a Michigan House proclamation honoring the former Democratic state legislator said that he earned a bachelor’s degree from SVSU. Local news outlets have also published Neeley’s false education information, Fox News reported.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation appeared to revise the false claim on its website Wednesday. Neeley serves on the executive committee for the corporation. Meanwhile, Neeley’s state legislator biography continues to falsely describe his educational achievements as of this article’s publishing. The organization Urban Core Mayors and the Michigan Association of School Boards also say Neeley graduated from SVSU with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
The Flint mayor is up for re-election in November and has received an endorsement from Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “[T]here is no one that’s going to get it done better than Mayor Neeley. That’s why he needs a second term,” Whitmer said of Neeley in May.
Neeley has risen through the ranks of the Michigan political world, beginning his career as a Flint city councilman for nine years before successfully running for state representative in 2014 and then for mayor of the long-beleaguered Michigan city in 2019. Democratic politics has also become a part of the Neeley family. His wife Cynthia took his seat as a state legislator after he resigned to become mayor.
Neeley will face former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in November, who he defeated in the 2018 election.