By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Wayne County Commissioner David Knezek (D-Livonia) and Democratic challenger Nena Fawaz will be on the Aug. 4 primary ballot for the 8th District seat.
Knezek, 33, was appointed Feb. 6 to the seat vacated by former County Commissioner Diane Webb, who resigned to accept the job of superintendent of Redford Township. That term ends in December.
Fawaz, 18, is an administrative assistant at Empire Realty Group and Knezek also is the director of Legislative Affairs at the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
Both candidates were asked to respond to questions with responses limited to a 120-word count for each. Answers exceeding that were edited for brevity.
Question 1: Why are you seeking (re)election? What do you hope to accomplish if (re)elected?
Fawaz: I am seeking this election because I believe in my generation and I feel that we should be looking into how and what we can do to get involved and make a positive impact within our communities. If elected, I hope to be the change our county has been in need of. I would like to accomplish my goal of making sure our citizens are living safely and comfortably, without the fear of a flood every time it rains.
Knezek: I am proud of the many successes we have shared as a community throughout the years and believe in continuing the fight for issues that affect us all: creating good paying jobs, ensuring healthcare for all, developing a world-class system of education, improving the quality of our cultural and recreational opportunities, protecting our environment and parks, repairing our roads and bridges, and addressing the systemic flooding issues that have plagued us for decades. I am seeking reelection because these fights are far from over and I’m committed to seeing them through to completion by working hand-in-hand with our community. As always, constituent services will remain a top priority as we seek to assist our neighbors in their time of need.
Question 2: What are two important issues your constituents face and what will you do to address or improve those issues if (re)elected?
Fawaz: Two important issues faced by my constituents are flood risk areas and our dangerous roads. If elected, I would do my best to make sure our roads are not forgotten. I have every intention of pushing for improvement on Evergreen Road, a road that is home to many residents, Henry ford College, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Fairlane Mall, Henry Ford Hospital, and many more. Evergreen Road is also home to many potholes. A road that carries such importance to the people should be well taken care of. I would also do my best to save the people of our flood risk areas. It is vital to me that our citizens feel safe, and it is heartbreaking to see our neighborhoods, streets, and houses overflooding with water.
Knezek: Senior citizens need our support as they enjoy the retirement years they have earned through their service to our state and community. I support expanded funding for Meals on Wheels, cracking down on physical and financial elder abuse, and ensuring seniors have access to the healthcare, resources, recreational opportunities, and support systems they have earned. Secondly, we have failed to address Michigan’s critical infrastructure and, as a result, we are plagued by crumbling roads and flooding streets in our community. We can’t accept excuses any longer or let such a tall task deter our efforts; I’m ready to work with local, county, and state partners to fight for our fair share of the budget to solve these issues.
Question 3: What education, experience or skills do you posses that make you a qualified candidate for the position you are seeking?
Fawaz: I am currently studying government and business law. An important skill that I possess would be my ability to analyze multiple outcomes of different scenarios and come up with viable resolutions to a given issue.
Knezek: I attended and graduated from St. Linus Catholic School, Crestwood High School, and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I was honored to serve as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps throughout two tours of duty in Iraq before being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate. I seek to bring leadership, courage, integrity, and experience to the position of Wayne County Commission. This means I will never back down from a righteous fight nor shy away from taking a principled stand as I work to earn the trust and confidence of the people I serve. I possess a working knowledge of local, county, and state government and maintain critical relationships to get the job done.
Question 4: Why should people vote for you?
Fawaz: People should vote for me because this is something I am very passionate about. While I do not have as many years of experience as others, I believe I am best fit for this position. I say this because there are people who have been elected officials for countless years, yet they have done the minimum for our society. I know that if I were to win this election, I would be pouring my all into this job. I have fresh, bright ideas that I want to see happen. I am a new voice for these changing times. I strive to be the inspiration for my generation, to show them that we need to stand up for what’s right and what we believe in.
Knezek: Now, more than ever, Wayne County needs an experienced leader that knows how to get the job done. As a former United States Marine, state representative, and state senator, I hit the ground running after being appointed to the Wayne County Commission. I am invested in our community’s success and work hard every day to connect residents with the resources they need or solve the problems they’re facing. From volunteering with a local shelter, to providing protective equipment to our first responders, and delivering food to our homebound senior citizens, I have adopted an “always on the job, always in the community” approach to public service. Residents should expect this type of hands-on, action-based leadership from their elected officials.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])