After 24 years of service in office, our County Commissioner Ilona Varga has decided to retire. She will be replaced by Democrat Cara Clemente of Lincoln Park following this month’s elections.
Cara Clemente is currently a State Representative in Lansing. She says that her biggest accomplishment was “in service to her District”. She referred to the fact that the Democrats were not in the majority during her tenure and as a result, her office prioritized problem solving for her constituents.
Cara was raised in Rockwood in Southeastern Wayne County and attended public schools. She received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in elementary education. She was actually the first person in her family to attend college.
After graduation, Cara taught science at St. Frances Cabrini Elementary School in Allen Park and John Paul II Elementary School in Lincoln Park. After she got married, she joined her husband’s family business, Clemente’s Bar, Restaurant and Bowling Alley, in Lincoln Park.
Cara is part Native American and belongs to the Wyandot of Anderdon tribe. She does hold a tribal card, which is a formal recognition of a person’s tribal heritage.
As a county commissioner, her top priorities will be security (the jail is run by the County), infrastructure and economic development. She would like to be “of service again,” so she intends to meet with the various communities in the district to learn about their concerns and issues. She will start this process after the first of the year.
She intends to hire a diverse staff, including Jesse Gonzalez from Commissioner Varga’s staff, who is fondly referred to as the “Mayor of Vernor.”
The new County Commission District includes a reduced section of Southwest Detroit, Zip Code 48217, Ecorse, River Rouge, Lincoln Park and Melvindale.
Steve Walker has been active in politics since 1962. He is a retired Political Science professor from Wayne County Community College, a member of the state Democratic Hispanic Latino Caucus and a long-time treasurer of the Wayne County Spanish Speaking Democrats and contributing writer for EL CENTRAL.