Growing up on a dairy farm as the daughter of Dutch immigrants, Winnie learned at a young age what hard work meant. After losing her father at the age of six, she watched her mother raise five children and run the family’s farm — setting an example for resilience and determination that Winnie has carried with her to this day. She has passed these lessons from her youth on to her three daughters, Olivia, Annalise and Emma. She and her husband, Steve, who has taught Spanish in both Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids Public Schools for more than twenty years, made a commitment to demonstrate to their daughters what it means to serve others and give back to their community.
Before running for state representative, Winnie worked as a caseworker at The Source where she helped businesses and nonprofits improve workplaces, while helping companies grow and retain employees. Prior to that, she served as the executive director of a community-based corrections agency and a school paraprofessional. She also was previously named PTA Member of the Year.
Since her election to the state House of Representatives in 2012, Brinks has worked to ensure every child has access to a world-class education, fought corruption and mismanagement at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and led the fight to protect all of West Michigan’s drinking water. Winnie is dedicated to keeping Grand Rapids and West Michigan an economic leader. She has worked with small businesses and entrepreneurs to give them the tools they need to grow and create jobs.
As a state representative, Winnie is honored to serve as an advocate for her constituents. and she knows how important it is to reinvest in the citizens of Michigan She has gained the respect of voters and constituents of all political affiliations as a hardworking, thoughtful and accessible public servant, and she plans to continue that service for the people of the 29th district.
If elected, she will be the first woman to represent Grand Rapids in the state Senate since Eva McCall Hamilton — the first woman ever to serve in the Michigan Senate — was elected in 1921. With the only Democratic woman currently serving in the Senate being forced out due to term limits, Michigan needs dedicated, principled, passionate women’s voices like Winnie’s in the chamber.
Winnie enjoys gardening, reading, camping, and spending time with her husband and their three daughters. She attends Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.
The 29th Michigan Senate district includes the cities of Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Lowell, as well as the townships of Ada, Bowne, Caledonia, Cascade, Grand Rapids and Lowell.