Woronchak will be out of office for first time in 20 years come January

Gary Woronchak

Gary Woronchak

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Current County Commission Gary Woronchak will not be moving on to the general election ballot after a disappointing loss in the 3rd District state Senate Democratic primary Aug. 7 to state Rep. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit).

Woronchak said he was disappointed in the results and that he wanted to continue serving as an elected official.

Sylvia  Santana

Sylvia Santana

“I am upset that I will not be in an elected official position come January, but I understood the challenges of running for a position that includes a large portion of Detroit,” he said. “I worked as hard as I possibly could have on my campaign and its easy to look back at things you would have done differently but the outcome is not going to change.”

He will continue to serve as commissioner until his term is up in December, but does not have firm plans following his term.

“I plan to stay involved in the community and will continue to help make a positive impact for and in Dearborn,” he said.

The primary was Woronchak’s first since 1998 where he did not win in the position he was vying for in an election. He was first elected in 1998 for a two-year term in the state House of Representatives to serve Dearborn.

Woronchak was re-elected twice to continue serving in the position until 2004 due to term limits. That same year, he ran for Wayne County commissioner to represent Dearborn and Allen Park and has held the position ever since.

According to his website, Gary won re-election every two years for the county commissioner seat and was unopposed in 2014 and 2016.

In January 2011, Woronchak was elected as the chairman of the Commission by his colleagues.

Woronchak highlighted a few favorite moments from his career including helping the Dearborn School District and hosting a conference for senior citizens.

“I wanted to return to the Legislature because I felt that I was very useful there for Dearborn children, for example when I helped get money for at risk students falling behind in school,” he said. “I also enjoyed the senior citizen conference I held in Dearborn that drew 400 to 500 people annually.”

His favorite aspect of serving in public office is the people he served.

“I believe I served the residents well during my time and have enjoyed doing so,” he said. “I’ve always made the effort to attend local meetings and events when they’re relating to the cities I serve and not just when they are county related.”

Santana finished first in the Aug. 7 primary with 12,660 votes, followed by Woronchak with 11,790 votes, Anita Belle with 4,370 votes and Terry Burrell 1,669 votes.

Santana will face Republican Kathy Stecker — was unopposed in the primary — in the Nov. 6 general election.
“I want to thank God, family, friends and supporters of the third State Senate District,” Santana said in a press release. “Since the cold days in January, we have knocked over 15,000 doors in the third, the people of the third district have spoken and they want someone that reflects their values and dreams in Lansing. I was so happy to see so many first-time voters exercising their right to vote; I really hope that this will not be a one-time event, but the new norm.”

“I am so humbled and honored that the people of the third district voted for me to be their nominee for the state Senate,” Santana said in a press release. “The work and dedication I put into this election is the same hard work and dedication, I will serve in Lansing.”

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