ILONA VARGA has served Wayne County residents of her district with dedication and proven results ever since they elected her to the Wayne County Commission in January 1999. Ilona is representing the new 4th District serving Lincoln Park, Melvindale and Southwest Detroit and is elected to her 9th two year term. She was honored to serve as the Commission’s leadership team as Vice Chair Pro Tempore 2009-2010.
Varga currently chairs the commission’s Public Safety, Judiciary and Homeland Security Committee, member of Government Operations, Ecenomic Development and Audit. Also serves on the Special Committee on Efficiency and Accountability. Ilona Varga works diligently to make the legislative body of county government more open, transparent and accountable to the taxpayers of Wayne County. As Vice Chair of the Audit Committee she helps to provide stringent oversight of the county’s policies and procedures, which she is actively trying to make stronger and transparent. She wants all non-civil service positions and contracts to be put out for compatible bidding. As a Commissioner, she oversees a nearly two billion dollar budget.
During her tenure on the commission, Varga has been very active and supportive of community Groups and has sponsored or co-sponsored several ordinances to improve the quality of life in her district and across Wayne County. The following is just a short list of her important work:
A link to her other important ordinance work on the Wayne County Commission can be found here.
Background: Ilona was born in Hungary. Youngest of seven children, her parents sent her to live with an Uncle in America in the hope that she would obtain a quality education and achieve her dreams. She received a student visa and quickly mastered English and attended Huron High School in New Boston, Michigan.
While still in high-school, Varga lived the work-ethic instilled in her by her parents. She was employed by a florist, a doctor's office, and also babysat after school and on the weekends.
After graduation, she continued her education at Wayne County Community College, a class at Wayne State University and graduated from Dawn Beauty College in Flat Rock, where she earned her cosmetology license. In 1989 Urban Bible College of Detroit honored Varga with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
With talent, ambition and a will to do public service, Ilona soon secured a position on the Detroit Board of Education. After various promotions, she then served as the citywide School Service Assistant to the Parents and Computers Teaching Students (PACTS) workshop.
Varga founded and served as president of the Friends of Beard-International, a group formed to save and place Beard School in Detroit on the state and national historical registries.
Community and government leaders quickly took notice of her dynamic and tenacious leadership qualities and voluntarism in the community. On December 19, 1985 Michigan House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Matthew McNeely made Varga a part of his team. She served as his Administrative Assistant and as the Administrative Aide to the House Committee on Insurance.
When Representative McNeely decided to retire after twenty two years of service, he encouraged and assisted his loyal staffer to run for his seat. Varga ran successfully in 1986, becoming the first woman ever elected State Representative from Southwest Detroit at that time, the 3rd District. Later redistricted, she served the residents in the City of River Rouge as well.
During her illustrious 12 year career serving the Michigan Legislature, Representative Varga authored legislation, much of which became law, which improved the lives of her constituents and all Michiganders. She convinced then Governor John Engler to issue an Executive Order putting in place an anti-abuse hotline operating still today and passed into law to protect the vulnerable adults in nursing home and elsewhere – just to name a few.
During her time with the Legislature she served as Chair of the House Regulatory Affairs Committee and as a member of the Commerce, House Oversight and Ethics, Insurance, and Marine Affairs and Port Development committees.
Varga's record on legislation while with the State of Michigan House of Representatives can be found at the state legislature’s website by clicking here.
Her strong legislative background, grassroots organizing, and hard work have earned her the respect of her colleagues and, most importantly, her constituency. Commissioner Varga remains true to her motto: "Everyone is important." It is a philosophy which recognizes that everyone has something to contribute in making America, Michigan and our local communities better places to live.
To Ilona Varga public service is a calling and considers herself a public servant first and politics by its nature is secondary. Although she has accomplished a lot in her career, she never forgets the humble beginning that started with growing up in a communist country and fleeing to get an education and live the American dream. Through hard work and lots of sacrifice, she is doing just that. Commissioner Ilona Varga is the proud mother of two grown children, and grandmother to two grandsons and one granddaughter.
Facebook: Ilona Varga.