You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 3:40 p.m.

Adam Zemke files to run for 1st District seat on Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners

By Ryan J. Stanton

Adam Zemke says he took one look at the job market after graduating from college a couple years ago and realized even the field he thought would be a safe bet wasn't immune to Michigan's economic downturn.

"I thought going through school that engineering was pretty stable and I wouldn't have too much of a problem finding a job," the Dexter Township resident said. "I was fortunate that I was able to find a job here, but a lot of my friends had to leave the state to find employment after they graduated. That was an eye-opener for me."


Adam Zemke is running as a Democrat in the 1st District for the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners

Courtesy Photo

Zemke, a Democrat, has announced his candidacy in the 1st District race for the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. He has filed nominating petitions to appear on the Aug. 3 primary ballot and currently faces no challengers.

He is seeking the seat of Commissioner Mark Ouimet, R-1st District, who is vacating his county office to run for the 52nd District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives.

As expected, jobs are part of Zemke's platform.

"My big interests in running are really to promote positive economic growth and job growth," he said. "I think jobs should be the No. 1 topic on the mind of any legislator right now, simply because it's quite obvious where the economy is and automatically you have a drop in revenue when people lose their jobs."

After seeing many of his friends leave the state, Zemke said he's also interested in promoting programs to encourage younger people to stay in Michigan.

Zemke, an engineering manager for a manufacturing company in Lansing, holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State University. He says he has spent recent months going door-to-door, talking to voters, and attending township and county meetings.

He says talking with residents has been enlightening. As he expected, Zemke said, many share his concerns about continuing to have adequate public safety. But he said he was surprised by the number of people with strong interests in technology programs such as Wireless Washtenaw.

"People were very adamant that they wanted to see that program continue and continue to expand," he said. "They were curious when it would be coming to their area and they wanted to make sure that it did."

On his campaign website, Zemke states he is a fifth generation Washtenaw County resident and attended Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School. He says he can't think of a childhood memory that doesn’t involve something in Washtenaw County, be it helping his father move jukeboxes for his family's 75-year-old business, be it lazy summer days on the lake, or be it the nights spent helping his father deliver the Chelsea Standard and Dexter Leader for his great aunt and uncle.

Zemke points out his background as an engineer has geared him to strive for efficiency. He says he would bring that same mentality to office when looking for ways to make county dollars stretch without raising taxes.

Zemke currently is the only candidate running for the 1st District. He has the endorsement of Commissioner Kristin Judge, D-7th District.

“Adam’s passion for service and understanding of county issues will make him an outstanding commissioner," Judge said in a written statement. "He has my complete support, and I hope to be working with him come next January."

To learn more about Zemke's campaign, e-mail, call (734) 645-3186 or visit

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Debra Adams

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 6:57 a.m.

I have known Adam Zemke his entire life and he is a people person. It is a rare breed who can combine the technical and personal sides of the brain into one personality, but Zemke does exactly that. He is the engineer with pizazz! He is not afraid to work hard. As an example, he could have just paid the $100 to be a candidate for this open seat, but he chose to go knocking on constituents doors, introducing himself and ask for their support. He has never taken the easy way out. And, he cares about the State of Michigan. He will make a fine representative for District 1. Debra Adams

Steve the Wookiee

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:12 p.m.

Good luck. Just remember that efficiency in engineering and efficiency in government are going to be vastly different.