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Twin sisters running for county office in opposing parties talk polarized political climate

tyson and sparks together in red and blue dress
Courtesy of Monica Sparks

There's a unique story playing out in West Michigan politics. Twin sisters are both running for seats on the Kent County Board of Commissioners for opposing parties.

Since they live in different districts, they could end up serving on the board together, but on opposite sides of the aisle.

Jessica Ann Tyson is a Republican. Her twin sister, Monica Sparks, is a Democrat.

At a time where our country is more politically divided than ever, their story takes us to a place where family and politics intersect. Tyson and Sparks joined Stateside to tell us more about how they manage the political divisions within their family.

Tyson and Sparks said that their parents played a large role in teaching them to find common ground with others.

"Our mother started us very young being tolerant of individuals, being tolerant to say, 'It's okay if we don't agree, but how can we work together to move forward?'" Tyson said.

Sparks also said she's concerned with how political divides can be expressed as cruelty.

"The meanness we are seeing from both sides, it's overwhelming," she said. "And what lessons are we teaching the young people?"

Listen above to hear what the twins' relationship was like while growing up, how they each chose their party, and what advice they have on bridging the gap between people who disagree on politics.

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