Inkster council member selected to fill Plawecki’s spot

The Detroit News

Democratic precinct delegates selected an Inkster City Council member Thursday as a primary candidate to replace late state Rep. Julie Plawecki on the Aug. 2 ballot in the 11th House District.

Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, died last month from an apparent heart attack and was the only Democrat on the ballot in the district, which encompasses Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Garden City as well as parts of Westland and Livonia.

Under state law, filling the vacancy on the primary ballot after a candidate dies requires a meeting of Democratic precinct delegates in the House district who then elect three delegates to select a new nominee.

During the meeting Thursday at Westland City Hall, the three delegates interviewed the 11 Democrats seeking the spot — including Plawecki’s 22-year-old daughter, Lauren — and chose Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones, said Jonathan Kinloch, chairman of the Democrats’ 13th Congressional District.

Jones, a University of Michigan-Dearborn student who graduated from high school in 2013, was the youngest member ever elected to the Inkster council, Kinloch said.

“He’s a hard worker. He is somebody who will regularly stay in the community, regularly have a conversation with the residents,” Kinloch said. “He’s going to be the type of individual that we look to as we continue to try to identify future leaders within the Democratic Party.”

Jones, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night, is seeking a two-year term that starts Jan. 1.

Separately, Gov. Rick Snyder has also called a special election to complete Plawecki’s current term, which runs through the end of 2016. The special primary is scheduled for Aug. 30 and will be followed by a general election on Nov. 8.

Candidates must file for the special election by Tuesday.

Late Thursday, Plawecki said she’d decide “at a later time” whether to seek the interim position.

“I’m not sure that she’s running, but should she decide, I definitely would call on the community to clear the field for her,” Kinloch said.

The special election winner would serve in the state House for less than two months during what could be a busy lame-duck period.

In remarks to the precinct delegates presented Thursday before the selection, Lauren Plawecki said she had hoped to continue her mother’s work.

“While no one can completely fill the void my mother has left at the Capitol and in our hearts, the lessons she taught me about integrity, compassion and service to others have left me uniquely positioned to carry on her legacy in the Michigan House of Representatives,” her statement said. “It would be the honor of a lifetime to continue her fight to make our district the best it can be, and to serve the community we love.”