Former councilman heads to state House

Photo courtesy of George Darany

State Rep. George Darany signs his Oath of Office papers following his swearing in to office Dec. 28 at 19th District Court. The former Dearborn councilman was sworn in by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Dingell.

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — As former Councilman George Darany (D-Dearborn) prepares to take the newest step in his political career, he expects some grief as a member of the minority party in the Michigan House of Representatives.

“I’ve been warned that it will be difficult due to the Republican majority,” he said, adding that he now must learn how to introduce legislation and lobby for his constituents.

His role as the new 15th District state representative is one shared by many in his party in the new political climate: He is one of 20 new Democrats taking office this year. However, he sees his role as fairly straightforward and said his decisions now will affect more people. Darany also expects that some compromise may be necessary because he is part of an incoming legislative minority.

One of his goals is to make public school funding more fair, he said, noting that Dearborn is one of five school districts that pays more in taxes than it receives.

“Communities use Dearborn funds to help fund their schools,” Darany said, “and while it’s great to help out, there are other cities in the area that may be able to help out more.

“Looking at a donor city, you can’t have a certain percentage of the population below the poverty line, which Dearborn has.”

Prison reform is another of his legislative goals.

“Michigan has the largest rate of incarceration per capita, (more) than any other state in the union. That is costly to the taxpayer, with 33,000 immates per income per year,” Darany said. He favors early release for minimum sentences, and instead advocates rehabilitation of inmates, who then can become productive and pay taxes that go back to the city.

Darany said he still will be around Dearborn, where he is a Rotarian and an usher at Sacred Heart Parish.

Rotary Club of Dearborn President Margaret Blohm is enthusiastic that Darany will do a good job.

“We wish him all the success in Lansing,” she said. “He has been an outstanding Rotarian.”

Darany was named the Harry A. Sisson Memorial Rotarian of the year in 2000 and also has helped spearhead the annual Goodfellows drive, which helps collect money and toys for children during Christmas.

Councilman Thomas Tafelski, who joined the body in 2001 and has been its president since 2007, also supports Darany, saying he wishes him all the best and is sure he will take Dearborn’s interests to heart.

“I look forward to working with his office in Lansing,” Tafelski said.

Darany said he still plans to attend ribbon cuttings and special events around town, but will miss one aspect of council life.

“I’ll miss being part of local politics,” he said, adding that what he enjoyed most was the opportunity to change local policies and get down to the nitty-gritty at places like recreational centers while making hands-on decisions.