By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Former democratic state Sen. David Knezek was unanimously appointed by the Wayne County Commission Feb. 6 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Diane Webb.
Webb resigned to accept the position of Redford Township superintendent.
Knezek takes over Webb’s 8th District seat, which represents Dearborn Heights, Redford Township and southeast Livonia. His appointment will run through December.
“I really want to thank Commissioner Webb for the trust she placed in me,” Knezek said in the commission’s press release. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Wayne County Commission.”
According to the release that announced the change, under the Wayne County Charter commissioners appoint a successor.
“There was only one name that came to my mind and that was Sen. David Knezek,” Webb said. “He sleeps and breathes public service and it is important to me to leave my district in caring and capable hands.”
Knezek served as a state senator from 2015 to 2018 during which he was chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Before that, he served one term in the state House of Representatives from 2013 to 2014.
Knezek is the first Iraq War veteran elected to both the state House and Senate. During his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, he volunteered for two tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was promoted to sergeant while serving in Iraq, the release said.
Following his terms in the Legislature, Knezek worked as the director of Legislative Affairs for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
He is a member of the Committee on Government Operations, Committee on Audit, Committee on Public Safety, and the Special Committee on Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs, according to his commission profile.
Knezek has a track record of civic engagement as a member of the Carl E. Stitt American Legion Post 232, vice president of the Dearborn Heights Goodfellows, chairman of the University of Michigan-Dearborn Alumni Association Board, a Silver Life Member of the Detroit Branch NAACP, board member for Starfish Family Services in Inkster, and a member of the Redford Township Jaycees.
As a lifelong resident of Dearborn Heights, Knezek graduated from Crestwood High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UM-D.
In a Feb. 6 Facebook post Knezek emphasized his love for serving the community and that he is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve Dearborn Heights, Redford Township, and Livonia again.
“I don’t much care about titles or the pomp and circumstance that comes with elected office but I care deeply about doing the work and delivering results on behalf of those I serve,” he wrote. “I plan on bringing that commitment to service to the Wayne County Commission and look forward to working with my colleagues and the executive branch to strengthen the county that we call home.”
Also in his post, Knezek thanked Webb for her 11 years of service on he commission.
“Plain and simple, Commissioner Webb is the gold standard when it comes to public officials, and has been a dear friend and mentor to me since I first jumped into politics nine years ago as a senior in college,” he said. “I wish her continued success as she assumes her new role as superintendent of Redford Township, and appreciate her commitment to ensuring a smooth transition into office.”
Webb began her position on the commission in 2009; she was re-elected last November. From 2003 to 2007 she served as a councilwoman in her native Garden City.
During her most current commissioner term she was the chair of the commission’s Committee on Government Operations and on the Committee on Audit and Special Committee on Senior Citizens & Veterans Affairs.
“She previously chaired the commission’s technology task force, which is credited with saving county taxpayers an estimated $80 million by overhauling underutilized phone and data lines,” the commission’s news release said. “Commissioner Webb authored a Wayne County Charter amendment giving the commission control over the form of the budget in order to increase oversight through line item budgets and was a champion for transparency by advocating to make county commission and committee meetings available via YouTube and on the county website.”
Webb’s annual Make a Senior Smile Day calls on local volunteers — including firefighters, police officers and students — to help senior citizens and disabled veterans each fall by raking leaves.
“I think it’s so important to take the voice the people give you and use it to represent them,” she said in the release. “There is definitely more lucrative ways to make a living, but I cannot imagine a more rewarding way than public service.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])