By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell and State Rep. Cara Clemente honored outgoing Mayor Thomas Karnes Nov. 21 during his final city council meeting.
Current City Councilmember Michael Higgins ran unopposed for mayor in the Nov. 8 election.
Dingell will be moving to the newly formed 6th Congressional District, which will not include Lincoln Park.
Clemente was elected to represent District 4 on the Wayne County Commission, representing Lincoln Park, Melvindale and southwest Detroit.
Dingell said that Karnes has been the “glue and soul of Lincoln Park” for many years.
“You may think you are retiring tonight, but nobody is really going to let you go,” she said. “It’s a night that everybody is going to pay tribute to you and for all that you have done for this city through the thick and thin of times. You are just there for everybody, from law enforcement to mayor.”
Dingell said that both she and her late husband considered him a friend, and she praised the advice he has given her over the years.
She presented Karnes with a certificate referencing a tribute she made to him on the floor of the U.S. House, and thanked him for his service to the city.
“Your public service will always be remembered,” Dingell said. “The next chapter isn’t going to let you go.”
Clemente said when she was elected to the state House six years ago, she and Karnes bonded through the Lincoln Park Exchange Club.
“You always helped me be a better elected official,” she said. “You have been in public service for so long, and I really appreciate everything that you have taught me and included me in, and I hope to continue serving this city with our new mayor in my capacity as a Wayne County Commissioner.”
Clemente said she would continue to volunteer in the capacities that Karnes introduced to her, as well.
She presented Karnes with a tribute certificate signed by her, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. She also presented a certificate on behalf of 4th District Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga, who was not present.
Dingell said that while it was likely that this was the last Lincoln Park city council meeting that she will attend, the city will always have a place in her heart.
“We have so many memories, so many friends, and I promise I will always be here for any of you,” she said. “Shri (Thanedar) will be here, and I will make sure Shri listens.”