Jonathan Kinloch named to Wayne County Commission

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Jonathan Kinloch, a union official and member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, was appointed Thursday to replace the late Jewel Ware on the Wayne County Commission.

Kinloch, a Democrat, will represent District 2, which includes downtown Detroit, surrounding neighborhoods, Belle Isle and the area where the new Wayne County Criminal Justice Center will be located.

Jonathan Kinloch

Kinloch will fill the two-year term of Ware, who died in December after being re-elected Nov. 3. Ware, a Democrat, was a former commission chair and had served as vice-chair pro tempore during the 2019-20 commission session. 

"I’m extremely humbled in being appointed to the vacancy on the county commission due to the untimely passing of my friend and mentor Jewel C. Ware," he said. "Jewel was a public servant who loved helping citizens in need." 

Kinloch was among nine candidates interviewed via Zoom on Monday and Tuesday by the county commission's special committee on rules.

 “I want to thank everyone for their vote and their support,” Kinloch said. “I am appreciative and proud of the appointment and will serve District 2 residents with great honor.”

Kinloch most recently was in the spotlight as vice chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which certified the county's results from the Nov. 3 election amid controversy.

The four-member board originally deadlocked Nov. 17 in a vote on whether to certify the results, with both Republican members voting no amid unsubstantiated allegations of fraud from supporters of President Donald Trump, who lost Michigan to Democrat Joe Biden by more than 154,000 votes.

Amid accusations of racism, the two Republicans subsequently changed their minds and voted for certification during the meeting, which received national media coverage, after Kinloch reached an agreement with the Republicans to request a state audit of precincts with unexplained out-of-balance tallies.

Kinloch resigned his canvasser's post Thursday after his appointment as a commissioner, saying it's against Michigan Election laws to remain on both boards.

 Kinloch, a Detroit native and resident, is the political director of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, representing members of the Service Employees International Union. He also is president of the Kinloch Group Inc., a music publishing company.

Also Thursday, Wayne County Commissioner Alisha Bell, D-Detroit, was unanimously reelected as commissioner chair during the board's organizational meeting for its 2021-22 legislative session. Bell represents District 7, which includes the west side of Detroit.

Commissioner Joseph Palamara, D-Grosse Ile Township, who represents District 15 in the Downriver area, was unanimously reelected as vice chair. Sam Baydoun, D-Dearborn, was elected vice-chair pro tempore, replacing Ware, who held that position during the previous session. Baydoun represents the 13th District, including Dearborn and Allen Park.