Oakland County Commissioner Helaine Zack Focuses on Working Across the Aisle, Economic Development

The Democrat from Huntington Woods was elected Tuesday to represent the new 18th District.

Helaine Zack, who secured another term Tuesday on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, is undaunted by serving as a member of the minority party.

Zack, D-Huntington Woods, beat Steven Zimberg, R-Huntington Woods, to represent the new 18th District. She defeated Craig Covey of Ferndale in the August primary. Covey and Zack currently serve on the commission but, due to redistricting, were in competition to represent the 18th district, which includes Huntington Woods, Hazel Park, Oak Park, Royal Oak Township and Ferndale.

"It's been a long election period for me because of the redistricting," Zack said Wednesday.

She has served on the Finance and Human Resources Committees as a representative of the 22nd District, which includes Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak Township and Southfield. Zack also is the Oakland County appointee to Area Agency on Aging 1-B Board.

"I'm still going to be who I am," Zack said of serving the new territory. "I'm still going to be active in my communities and be a voice for their needs. But, I'm kind of going back to where I was 10 years ago when I got started."

There were six Democrats and 19 Republicans when Zack first joined the Board of Commissioners in 2003, she said. After Tuesday's election, there will be seven Democrats and 14 Republicans on the board.

"We have less of a Democrat voice, but I have gotten things done," Zack said. "You just have to work across the aisle."

She added that she is "thrilled" about picking up two Democrats at the county level: Lisa Brown, who won the clerk race, and Jim Nash, who was elected water resources commissioner.

Zack said that as a representative of the 18th District, which has four out of its five communities touching Eight Mile Road, she hopes to focus on economic development.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to cross Eight Mile and really have this regional hub," she said. "I think (U.S. Rep.) Gary Peters (D-MI) crossing the border (in the 14th District) shares that."

Peters' newly drawn district includes parts of Detroit, the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Southfield, Lathrup Village, Royal Oak Township, Oak Park, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake and Pontiac, according to mlive.com.

Zack said she plans to meet with members of her communities to hear what's on their minds as she works to set priorities for her next term.

"I'm really honored to be able to continue to serve the people and bring a reasonable voice to the table," she said.


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