State Rep. Julie Plawecki dies of apparent heart attack while hiking

State Rep. Julie Plawecki

State Rep. Julie Plawecki

Dems meeting July 7 to choose replacement candidate on ballot

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — State Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) died after suffering a heart attack during a hike in Oregon June 25.

The 54-year-old was hiking with two of her three daughters at the time.

Plawecki was serving her first term in the 11th District after being elected in 2014. The district covers parts of Dearborn Heights, Westland and Livonia and all of Garden City and Inkster.

Plawecki was up for re-election this year and was unopposed in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary.

Democratic precinct delegates in the 11th House District will meet at 6 p.m. July 7 at Westland City Hall, 36300 Warren Road, to select three delegates who will decide on a new candidate for the primary ballot.

New ballots will be printed with the final candidate listed and sent to city clerks for absentee voters.

Candidates interested in the vacant house seat can email 13th Congressional District Chairman Jonathan Kinloch a letter and resume to jkinloch@mi13thdistrict.com. Materials also can be dropped off to the front desk at American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, 600 W. Lafayette Blvd. in Detroit by 5 p.m. July 5 to be considered.

According to published reports, Plawecki was nearing the top of Misery Ridge on central Oregon’s Smith Rock when she said she couldn’t go any farther. She had been hiking about 25 minutes and showed no signs of fatigue, when she suddenly collapsed. She did not regain consciousness.

Plawecki served on the House Energy and Natural Resources committees.

She leaves her husband, 20th District Court Judge Mark Plawecki and their three daughters. Funeral arrangements will be announced as they are finalized.

Plawecki was a medical technologist and teacher before earning a seat in the House. During her time as a teacher, she taught math, science and religion at elementary and secondary levels.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Oakland University and her professional teaching certificate from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Also, for the last decade Plawecki worked at St. Robert Bellarmine in Redford and has also coached the school’s Science Olympiad team. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association and the Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

State Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) was the first to break the news with a Facebook post.

“It is with a heavy heart and overwhelming sadness that I share the news of the passing of Representative Julie Plawecki,” he wrote. “Please keep Representative Plawecki’s family — especially her husband and her three daughters — in your thoughts and prayers.”

Mayor Daniel Paletko released a statement on Plawecki’s unexpected passing.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the untimely passing of good friend and State Representative Julie Plawecki last night,” he said. “Julie was a never-tiring supporter of our community, a dedicated and respected member of the Michigan House of Representatives, and most of all, a loving wife, mother and trusted friend. We will miss her deeply.

“On behalf of Dearborn Heights’ residents, officials and employees, I offer my sincere condolences to the Plawecki family in this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Gov. Rick Snyder was one of several elected officials who were shocked to hear the news.

“Representative Plawecki’s passing is a shock to us all and Michigan has lost a fine and dedicated public servant. The outpouring of support and grief from both sides of the aisle in both chambers of the Legislature are a testament to how much Julie cared about serving her constituents and the state of Michigan well and with distinction,” he said in a statement. “Sue and I are keeping her husband, her children, and her entire family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans shared his thoughts with a statement.

“I am saddened to learn of Dearborn State Rep. Julie Plawecki’s passing. Her career as a teacher and her time in the legislature are a testament to her commitment to our community. My thoughts and prayers are with her husband Mark and her three daughters.”

Visitation for Plawecki will be held at John Santeiu & Sons Funeral Home, 1139 N. Inkster Road in Garden City, from 5 to 8 p.m. June 30 and 2 to 8 p.m. July 1.

A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. July 2 at the Church of the Divine Child, 1055 N. Silvery Lane in Dearborn.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)