Incumbent, newcomer will face-off for State Senator seat

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The 5th District State Senator primary race will have incumbent Democrat David Knezek facing off against Betty Jean Alexander on Aug. 7.

Both candidates are vying for a four-year term in the district that serves Dearborn Heights, Detroit, Garden City, Inkster and Redford Township.

Republican DeShawn Wilkins is unopposed on the Republican side of the ballot.

Candidates were contacted and asked to answer questions about why they are interested in the state senate position. Each of the following questions had a 100-word limit.

Alexander did not respond to questions by deadline.

Question 1: Why are you running for State Senate?

Knezek: I am running for re-election to the Michigan State Senate because I am not done fighting for our community. Michigan continues to recover from the Great Recession but that recovery is uneven. Too many families are being left behind because our priorities remain out of line. We need to invest in education, roads and infrastructure, and we need to make sure that we are creating jobs that can support families.

Question 2: What skills, education or experience do you possess that make you a qualified candidate for the position you are running for?

Knezek: I have served in the Michigan Legislature for six years now — two years in the Michigan House of Representatives and the past four years as a Michigan state senator. Prior to being elected, I served six years in the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 2012 having attained the rank of sergeant. I also graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a B.A. in Political Science.

Question 3: What is the one most important issue facing your district and what will you do in your position if (re)elected to solve it?

Knezek: Unfortunately, too many issues face my constituents to narrow it to just one. Wages have remained stagnant for most workers so it is no longer enough to simply create new jobs, we must also work to create jobs that can support Michigan families; that means higher wages and better benefits. In order to make this happen, we need to rethink the way we levy taxes. More money in your pocket will mean more demand for the goods and services Michigan companies produce. We must also invest in education at all levels — from pre-K through college.

    Question 4: Why should people vote for you?

Knezek: When I first ran for this seat back in 2014, I promised to be accountable and to serve with honesty and integrity. I believe I have fulfilled those promises. I hope to continue serving you over the next four years and am committed to honoring those same values. I know how hard you work and you deserve a senator representing you in Lansing who works just as hard. Our job is far from complete and it would be my honor to continue fighting for you.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at