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Gary's Awards
Henry Ford Community College Distinguished Service Award (2004)

Liberty Bell Award from the Dearborn Bar Association (2007)

AAPAC (Arab American Political Action Committee) Community Service Award (2003)

Dearborn PTA Council Honorary Lifetime Member Award (2002)

Senior Alliance, Area Agency on Aging, Legislative Award (2002)

Alzheimer's Association Detroit Area Chapter Public Policy Award (2001)

Special projects, events, etc.

Senior Citizen Conferences
For each of the years he's held office, Gary has held a Senior Citizen Conference featuring informative speakers, displays, information, entertainment and lunch for Dearborn's seniors. Guest speakers have included Attorney General Mike Cox, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus, local TV personalities and Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan's surgeon general. Hundreds of seniors have attended every year, and various sponsorships have made it a free event that seniors have looked forward to annually.

Free trigger locks for safety
To promote firearm safety, Gary has given away hundreds of free trigger locks at various events during his time in office. The special events have attracted many local residents, and he has hand-delivered many gun locks to residents who wanted the devices but couldn't attend the events.

Building wheelchair ramps
Gary has twice brought the "Reps for Ramps" program to his district, rolling up his sleeves and helping build wheelchair ramps for residents who needed them, with volunteer help and no charge to the homeowner.

Office hours for residents
Throughout his three terms in the House, Gary held regular "office hours" sessions at various locations around the city so residents could drop by for one-on-one meetings, no appointments necessary. Many came to the sessions to express their opinions, seek help with problems or just to say hello.

Annual issues survey
Every spring, Gary mailed an issues survey to all district residents, asking their opinions on important matters that the Legislature would be considering over the year. Thousands of residents have responded to the surveys, helping give Gary a sense for what his constituents wanted done on some key issues.

 

Gary's major accomplishments
as a State Representative

Millions of dollars more for
Dearborn Public Schools
Gary amended the School Aid Act in 2002 to change the formula for at-risk funding, for students who need some extra help and attention to succeed in school. As a higher-spending school district, Dearborn was getting half the amount per student than other districts getting aid under this provision.

Gary pushed for a couple years, and even had legislative leaders tour Dearborn schools to witness the needs first-hand, before succeeding in amending the formula so Dearborn would get the same per-student as other districts. The result: $2.5 million more for Dearborn schoolsevery year – to provide programs to help students who need help most.

In an editorial titled "Woronchak comes through in clutch for Deraborn schools," the Dearborn Times-Herald wrote: "Because of true determination and hard work, Woronchak managed to direct these funds to Dearborn for this year, and the next decade."

State Rep. Gary Woronchak's bills signed into law

Gary has had 22 bills that have become laws during his six years in the state House. His policy initiatives have resulted in lower taxes for senior citizens, homeland security enhancements, protection for vulnerable adults, information for consumers making health care choices, help for families saving for college educations, and much more.

To read about his bills that have been approved by the Legislature and signed into law, click here.

Standing up for working families
Gary was a leader in efforts to raise the maximum unemployment benefit to $362 per week in 2002, from the $300 it had been frozen at since 1995.

He was also a key vote in defeating an attempt to institute a waiting week before benefits could be collected, and an attempt to deny the increase to the thousands who were unemployed at the time the bill was passed, making it just for those who would become jobless in the future.

The vote was held open for a record seven hours while Gary and a handful of other Republicans – standing up against their own party – were pressured to change their votes. But Gary held fast, and the negative provisions were abandoned.

He also has introduced legislation to raise unemployment payments for all workers, not just the top end, and was the primary co-sponsor of a bill in 2003 that enabled thousands of long-term unemployed workers to qualify for extended benefits under a state-federal program.

And, Gary passed a bill (Public Act 301 of 2000) that doubled the special income tax exemption for unemployed workers if their benefits are 50 percent or more of their gross income.

State income tax cut; lowest in 30 years
Gary introduced one of the bills and was a co-sponsor of the entire package of legislation that reduced the state income tax rate from 4.4 to 3.9 percent, its lowest level in nearly three decades.

Legislation passed in 1999 set the tax cut in motion, lowering it by one-tenth of a percent each year for five years. The phase-down was completed July 1, 2004.

Left-turn arrows on Michigan Avenue
Motorists driving on Michigan Avenue can make left turns more safely at two busy intersections because of a successful effort by Gary to have left-turn arrows installed at Oakwood and at Monroe.

The city had worked for two years to get approval from the Michigan Department of Transportation for the signals at several locations, but MDOT refused, stating the intersections failed to meet certain criteria. Gary held talks with MDOT officials and convinced them to agree to the two left-turn arrow lights as a pilot project to determine if they will improve traffic safety.

Said Mayor Michael Guido: "We can all be grateful for Rep. Woronchak's help in getting this important traffic safety enhancement to become reality."

 

Joining students for
Pledge of Allegiance
Gary joins students at Whitmore-Bolles Elementary and Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a flag-raising ceremony on Sept. 18, 2001 to remember the terror attacks of one week earlier on Sept. 11. Gary, who attended the school as a child, donated the U.S. flag used in the ceremony.

 

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How you can help

About Gary Woronchak

E-mail Gary now