Meet Gary Woronchak

Public servant, newspaper editor, community activist

Gary Woronchak (pronounced Warren-chak), 63, grew up on Alice Street on the city of Dearborn's southwest side. He raised his own family in Dearborn, and a third generation of his family is being raised here.

Gary attended Whitmore-Bolles Elementary and Edison Junior High, graduated from Edsel Ford High School, attended Henry Ford Community College and then graduated with a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Professionally, Gary spent nearly 25 years in the newspaper business. Prior to his election to the state Legislature in 1998, he was the managing editor of The Daily Tribune, a 20,000-circulation daily newspaper based in Royal Oak and serving southeast Oakland County. That year and a half was the only time he ever worked outside of his hometown of Dearborn.

He spent most of his newspaper career as editor of the Dearborn Press & Guide. He started working for the Dearborn Guide as a freelance photographer while still in high school, became a sports writer and then sports editor, before becoming a news reporter when the Guide merged with the Dearborn Press, and finally, in 1980, became the paper's editor. He remained in that position until April 1996.

While a newspaper editor, he was host of the late Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido's monthly call-in cable TV show, "The Mayor's Forum," for 10 years, and before that hosted "Capitol Connection," an issues-oriented call-in cable TV show with a state legislator.

Gary is a member of the League of Women Voters Dearborn/Dearborn Heights, Dearborn Optimist Club, Dearborn Centurians and Dearborn Goodfellows.

Above, Gary's wife Vivian stands with him as he is sworn in to his second term in the Michigan House of Representatives by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver. Below, on the night of a successful re-election to the House, Gary and Vivian celebrate with their daughter, Diana.

How Gary became a State Representative

and then a Wayne County Commissioner

Gary Woronchak was elected Dearborn's State Representative in November of 1998.

He had run for the office earlier, in 1996, after a long career as editor of the Dearborn Press & Guide. He was unsuccessful in the 1996 election against the incumbent representative.

After being elected in 1998, Gary began a two-year term in January of 1999. Gary won a second term in November 2000. He was unopposed in his 2002 election for a third term, and was the only representative in the 110-member state House to be unopposed that year.

In 2004, Gary was unable to seek re-election to the state House due to term limits. He ran for the Wayne County Commission, winning the seat that represents Dearborn, Allen Park and, at the time, Melvindale (which was moved to another district in 2012 with reapportionment after the 2010 census).

Gary was elected by his colleagues in January 2011 as Chairman of the Wayne County Commission, and served four terms as chairman before leaving the Commission at the end of 2018. The Chair of the Commission sets the agendas and presides over all meetings of the full Wayne County Commission, along with managing the operations of the Commission.

He won re-election every two years on the Wayne County Commisison, including being unopposed in 2014 and 2016.  In 2018, Gary opted to not seek re-election to the Commission and instead ran for State Senate in a district that includes Dearborn and a large portion of Detroit. That campaign was not successful, but Gary remains committed to Dearborn, and has been encouraged to consider seeking office in Dearborn again in the near future.

Gary was elected to the Wayne County Commission as a Republican, but decided to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat in fall of 2005, during his first year as a Commissioner. More information about his change of political parties can be found by clicking here.

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