Wygonik, Salamey advance in judge race

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Sam Salamey and incumbent Richard Wygonik beat out Candyce Ewing Abbatt in the Aug. 7 primary election and will run against each other for the 19th District Court judge seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

Salamey received 5,344 votes and Wygonik received 4,504 votes; Abbatt received 3,594 votes.

Salamey said he is extremely pleased with the outcome.

“We worked really hard,” he said. “We pounded the pavement, talked to citizens and voters, and we are delighted with the way they responded and we achieved the results.”

Salamey said he walked 41 out of the 50 precincts but he is not finished yet.

“We’ll continue our hard work,” Salamey said. “We’ll sustain our momentum going into November hoping for a win.”

Salamey added that he campaigned with a platform that stuck to the issues.

“I always believed that you will fare better and do better when you concentrate on the positive experience rather than knocking others down,” Salamey said. “Our platform is concise and I believe citizens responded in a big way.”

Salamey, who has lived in Dearborn since 1974, studied at Henry Ford Community College and Wayne State University and received his doctorate in jurisprudence at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, according to samsalamey.com.

Salamey is a senior member of the law firm Salamey & Farhat, PLLC. He was the 19th District Court judicial magistrate from 1993 to 2006 and the Dearborn Police Department Community Relations Officer from 1979 to 1981, among a host of other positions.

Salamey belongs to the State Bar of Michigan, the Eastern District of Michigan-Southern Division and the Dearborn Bar Association.

Salamey is also the chairman of the city of Dearborn Board of Ethics and former president of the Lebanese American Heritage Club, according to samsalamey.com.

Wygonik said he is satisfied with the election results and he called Salamey to congratulate him on the election.

“The candidates worked very hard,” Wygonik said.

Wygonik said he plans to move forward in the general election with a positive attitude.

“It was a tough campaign,” he said. “We’ll put our best foot forward and explain to voters why I should be re-elected.”

Wygonik said if he is re-elected he plans to continue making improvements at the court.

“In the few months I’ve been chief judge we’ve made some improvements in trying to streamline operations and increase revenue,” he said.

He added that he wants voters to see the court in a positive light.

“We are doing more with less,” Wygonik said. “And we are serving the public well.”

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Wygonik to the 19th District Court bench in March 2005. He was appointed chief judge by Michigan Supreme Court in January. A lifetime Dearborn resident and Fordson High School graduate, he obtained his law degree from Wayne State University after completing his undergraduate studies at Henry Ford Community College and Western Michigan University.

Wygonik is involved in the Dearborn Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Polish American Congress, Bishop Foley Knights of Columbus, the Dearborn Pioneers Club and Dearborn ARC, according to the city’s website.

Wygonik is a founding member of Polish American Citizens for Equity and is president of the Polish American Legal Society.

Dearborn resident Abbatt also ran in 2008, losing to Judge Mark Somers.

Abbatt did not respond to phone calls by press time.