First term state Rep. Julie Plawecki, 54, dies

Chad Livengood, Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — State Rep. Julie Plawecki, a first-term Democrat from Dearborn Heights, died suddenly Saturday from an apparent heart attack at age 54, Democratic legislators confirmed overnight.

State Sen. David Knezek, a fellow Democrat from Dearborn Heights, announced Plawecki’s death late Saturday night on Facebook.

“It is with a heavy heart and overwhelming sadness that I share the news of the passing of Representative Julie Plawecki,” Knezek wrote. “... A former science and math teacher before coming to the Legislature, Representative Plawecki was an absolutely outstanding public servant, beloved by all, and a fighter for her constituents.”

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel released a statement shortly after midnight Sunday confirming Plawecki’s death.

“All of us in the (Democratic) caucus are truly saddened and send our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time,” said Greimel, D-Auburn Hills.

Katie Carey, a spokeswoman for Greimel, said Democratic lawmakers were informed by Plawecki’s family that she died of a heart attack.

The Lansing political newsletter Michigan Information and Research Service reported Sunday that Plawecki was hiking in Oregon with one of her daughters when she suffered the heart attack.

Plawecki is survived by her husband of 25 years, Mark, and three adult daughters. Mark Plawecki is a judge in Wayne County’s 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights.

Prior to being elected to the state House in 2014, Plawecki spent a decade teaching elementary and secondary level math, science and religion at St. Robert Bellarmine School, a Catholic school in Redford, according to her legislative biography.

“Julie spent her career serving her community, both as a longtime teacher and as a state representative, and those who knew her have lost a great neighbor and friend,” House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, said Sunday in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to her husband, Mark, and their children as they deal with this terrible news.”

Julie Plawecki, a graduate of Oakland University, was elected in 2014 to the 11th District seat in Wayne County, representing Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Garden City and parts of Westland and Livonia.

“Julie was an absolutely wonderful lady. She was kind, thoughtful, purposeful and very caring,” Republican state Rep. Laura Cox of Livonia wrote on Knezek’s Facebook post. “She was a pleasure to know and work with and share a community with. She will be missed.”

Plawecki was seeking re-election this year and is unopposed in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary.

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood