Thursday, December 7, 2023

5 seeking unexpired state representative term

Two elections will determine the new State House Representative from the 25th District.

Former representative Kevin Coleman, a democrat, resigned the state office following his successful campaign to become mayor of Westland. The 25th District encompasses the City of Wayne and portions of Canton Township and Westland.

The lone republican seeking to complete Coleman's term, Josh Powell, is unopposed in the primary election set for Tuesday, Jan. 30. As the only republican on the ballot, Powell will face the winning democratic candidate in the election set for  April 16 to fill the term which expires at the end of next year.  Powell is a Westland resident who has been unsuccessful in several campaigns for a city council seat.

Democrats seeking the $71,685 salaried state position in Lansing include two current members of the Westland City Council and a serving member of the Wayne Westland Community Schools Board of Education.

Seeking the unexpired term is  Coleman's cousin, Peter Herzberg, a Westland resident, is currently serving on the city council. Should he be elected to the state office, the other members of the city council would name a replacement to serve the remainder of his term which expires at the end of 2025. A council member since 2016, Herzberg graduated from John Glenn High School before earning his bachelor's degree in finance from Wayne State University. 

Current Wayne Westland Community Schools Board of Education member Melandie Hines is also seeking the vacant state house seat. Should Hines be the choice of voters, a replacement to serve the remainder of her term which expires in 2026 would be named by the other school board trustees. Hines holds a dual master's degree in business management and human resources management from Phoenix University as well as a bachelor's degree in behavior arts and science with a specialization in criminal justice from Saginaw Valley State University. 

Also seeking the state office is City of Wayne resident Shannon Rochon. He is employed as the director of partnerships for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, according to his LinkedIn profile. Rochon earned his bachelor's at Eastern Michigan University and attended Harvard University. 

Westland City Council Pro-tem Andrea Rutkowski will also be on the primary ballot. If Rutkowski is successful in her bid to fill Coleman's vacant term, the remaining members of the council would appoint a replacement to serve her term which continues through 2027.  She is employed as a teacher and is involved with local community groups like the Wayne Ford Civic League and the VFW Post 9885.

Layla Taha, a Westland resident, who is a program manager for Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), has also filed paperwork to be on the January primary election ballot. She earned her bachelor of arts degrees at University of Michigan and her master degree at Columbia University. 

Both her bachelor's degrees are in international studies in Global Environment and her master's degree is in public health.