By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization selected Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones to replace late state Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.
“I’m surprised to be picked,” the 20-year-old Jones said. “I know there are challenges with being young, but I am hard working, dedicated and will always advocate for the community.”
During a meeting July 7 at Westland City Hall, three preselected delegates interviewed the 11 candidates vying for the place on the ballot.
Along with Jones, candidates included Plawecki’s daughter Lauren Plawecki, former Dearborn Heights Councilman Ned Apigian, Dearborn City Planner Mohamed Ayoub, Dearborn Heights Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton, Dearborn teacher Rashid Baydoun, Inkster residents Robert Johnson and Aaron Sims, ACCESS program manager Rafael Narbaez, former Inkster Mayor Hilliard Hampton and Inkster Councilwoman DeAtriss Richardson.
The 11th District covers parts of Dearborn Heights, Westland, Livonia and all of Garden City and Inkster.
From the 58 precinct delegates, 46 were from Inkster, six from Dearborn Heights, four from Garden City and two from Livonia.
Those 58 voted to select three delegates to interview candidates. They selected Lawrence Henney from Dearborn Heights along with Mabel Stroman and Timothy Williams from Inkster.
The decision was unanimous for the three delegates all saying a young voice is the future in Lansing when selecting Jones.
“He’s young, motivated and charismatic,” Stroman said. “He’ll be able to do good in Lansing because he can talk and work with different people.”
“It’s time for the next generation to their place in Lansing,” Williams said.
During the interview session, each candidate was given five minutes to say why they are the best nominee to fill the vacant ballot spot.
Lauren Plawecki, 22, hoped to earn the nomination and seat to finish some of the work her mother began. She graduated in December from University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Art History.
“We have similar views especially on education,” she said before the decision was made. “I want to finish her Water Human Rights Act work.”
The seat became open after the sudden death of Julie Plawecki, 54, while hiking in Oregon with two of her daughters on June 25.
She was completing her first term in the house and was uncontested on the Aug. 2 primary before her death.
On July 5, Gov. Rick Snyder announced a special primary election for Aug. 30 before the general election on Nov. 8. The winner of the general election will serve the remainder Plawecki’s term through the end of the year.
The election for the new term beginning on Jan. 1, 2017 will also be on the Nov. 8 ballot for those interested in that term.
“While we are still mourning the passing of Rep. Plawecki, the residents of the 11th House District need representation,” Snyder said in press release.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)