Retired Detroit News reporter receives Lansing tribute

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The Michigan House of Representatives on Thursday honored retired Detroit News Staff Writer Gary Heinlein for a career that spanned nearly five decades.

State Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, presented the legislative tribute to Heinlein, who signed off for the last time Dec. 24 after a 47-year journalism career, 17 of which were spent covering the Michigan Legislature for The News.

“We will miss his experience and his expertise, but we’ll remember the work he did shining a light on government and keeping the Capitol within reach of the people of Michigan,” said Nesbitt, the House majority floor leader.

“Gary has made a lasting impression on us all for delivering truthful stories,” Nesbitt added, “that informed the public and brought state government closer to home for Michiganders. Thank you so much for your work.”

Heinlein called the tribute a surprise and said: “I wouldn’t have expected this.”

“It’s very rewarding to get this from the Legislature,” he said Thursday. “I had a good career. Retiring would have been quietly going off and fishing and playing golf. ... It’s a nice way to end my career.”

Since he left The News, Heinlein said he and his wife have been traveling. Next, he said, is “doing some writing.”

“But I don’t miss the deadlines,” he said of daily news gathering.

“Or the late nights in the Legislature. It was tiring and challenging, but it was kind of fun to sometimes come out of there (after legislative sessions) at 2 or 3 or 4 in morning.”

(313) 222-2311