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John Pappageorge
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 2007
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
In office
January 1999 – January 2005
County Commissioner, Oakland County, Michigan

In office
Council Member, Policy Planning Staff (United States)|Policy Planning Staff

In office
Personal details
Born John George Pappageorge
July 19, 1931(1931-07-19) (age 90)
Detroit, Michigan
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Helen Pappageorge (m. 1958, d. 1993)
Christina Burnard(m. 1997)
Children George, Christina
Residence Troy, Michigan
Alma mater United States Military Academy (B.S.)
University of Maryland, College Park (Master of Arts)
U.S. Army War College
Profession Army Officer
Business Executive
Committees Administrative Rules, Chair; Appropiations, Vice-Chair; Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs, Vice-Chair; Finance; Homeland Securities and Emerging Technologies; Senate Fiscal Agency Board of Governors [1]
Religion Greek Orthodox
Website [1]
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1954–1984
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal, Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, Bronze Star, nine Air Medals, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge

John George Pappageorge (born July 19, 1931)[2] is a member of the Michigan State Senate.


John Pappageorge was born to a Greek family on the east side of Detroit, Michigan.[3]

Pappageorge entered the United States Army after graduating from high school in Detroit, enrolling in the United States Military Academy at West Point. From West Point he received a B.S. in engineering in 1954. He later obtained a Master of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland in 1971 and attended the U.S. Army War College in 1973.[4]

He served 30 years of active duty in the Infantry including two combat tours in Vietnam. During the second tour, he served as a battalion commander. There he was highly decorated, including receiving the Distinguished Service Medal, Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star, nine Air Medals, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross. He is also Airborne, Ranger, and Pathfinder qualified.[3]

While in the Army, Pappageorge served as Special Assistant to General Alexander Haig, who was then the Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command (CinCUSEUR) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) (and later U.S. Secretary of State). Pappageorge conducted shuttle diplomacy between Greece and Turkey that returned Greek forces to NATO's integrated military structure.[3] He spent his last four years in the Army, 1981–1984, as a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Council.[2][3][4]

He retired as a colonel in 1984, settling in Troy, Michigan in Oakland County.[3] After retirement from the Army, Pappageorge became Director of Business and Strategic Planning at General Dynamics Land Systems Division. From 1989 to 1992, Pappageorge served as an Oakland county commissioner.[3][4] He was the Republican candidate for Congress in Michigan's 12th congressional district in 1992, 1994, and 1996. In 1995, he served as First Vice-chair of the Republican Party of Michigan.[3]

Pappageorge was married for thirty-five years to his first wife, Helen. She died in 1993 to pancreatic cancer. He married Cristina Burnard (now Cristina Pappageorge) in 1997.[3] Pappageorge has a son and two daughters.[4] His son George is an Army reserve Lieutenant Colonel who has served in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[3]

Congressional campaigns[]

1992 election[]

In 1992, he ran for the United States House of Representatives against Sander Levin. This was the first serious Republican opposition against Levin, after his congressional district absorbed a Republican-leaning spur of Oakland County in redistricting. Levin won by 7%.

1994 election[]

Pappageorge ran against Levin for the second time in 1994, this time managing to pull within 5%, despite being outspent more than 3-to-1.[5] Pappageorge benefitted from Newt Gingrich's Contract with America and the 1994 Republican Revolution.

1996 election[]

In his third consecutive run against Levin, he was not able to shore up as much support, losing 57.4%-40.5%.

Michigan House of Representatives[]

Pappageorge served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1999 to 2004, when he retired due to term limits.[6] He spent four years on the House Appropriations Committee, and served his final two years as Chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and as a member of the Employment Relations, Training and Safety Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Senior Health, Security, and Retirement Committee, and the Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Committee.[3]

1998 election[]

In 1998, he ran for the Michigan State House 41st District seat, which then encompassed southern Troy, Clawson and northern Royal Oak in Oakland County. He defeated Troy City Councilmember Matt Pryor in the Republican Primary. He went on to defeat Democrat David Richards in the November general election. [2].

2000 election[]

In 2000, he was re-elected facing nominal opposition with no primary challengers.

2002 election[]

He was again re-elected again to his final term under term-limits in 2002 in the newly created 41st District (through decennial redistricting), a district which composed roughly the same area. He faced nominal opposition and no primary challengers.

2004 election remarks[]

In 2004, Pappageorge was quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election cycle." The New York Times cited this comment in an editorial on the "suppression of minority votes." Detroit's population is more than 80 percent African American, and tends to vote heavily Democratic.[7]

While apologizing for the remark and denying any intent of racial connotation, Pappageorge explained that he made the remark in the context of concern about the effects that a medical marijuana issue on the Detroit ballot might have on partisan voter turn-out.Despite the reaction of the New York Times, the Oakland Press, a local newspaper, contended that Pappageorge's claims were “entirely credible.”[8]

2006 State Senate campaign[]

Pappagoerge was coaxed by the Michigan Republican Party to run for the 13th District State Senate seat after Sander Levin's son, Andy Levin announced he was going to enter the race.[9]

After Pappageorge joined the race, Gosselin dropped out in order to run for County Commissioner in Troy.

Pappageorge won the August Republican primary 58.5% to Taub's 41.5%.

Charges of mudslinging and dirty politics continued in the general election between Pappageorge and Levin.[10] The race became hotly contested, with over $2 million spent by the two campaigns, and with negative television ads from each side (a rarity in State Senate races in metro-Detroit).

The Michigan Republican Party, on behalf of Pappageorge's campaign, distributed flyers alleging that Levin had stances on issues, including same-sex marriage, illegal immigration and gun control, that were too liberal for the district. They also accused Levin of being a carpetbagger, as Levin had recently moved back to Michigan after working for the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. Levin's campaign fired back, claiming that Pappageorge cut more than $500 million from schools in Michigan and was fired from the Bush Presidential campaign in 2004.

Pappageorge defeated Levin in November by a slim margin, 776 votes.[11] Pappageorge's margin of victory was less than the number of votes obtained by Green Party candidate Kyle McBee, who received 3,118 votes.[12]

2010 State Senate campaign[]

In the 2010 election, Pappageorge was the only incumbent in Oakland County to seek re-election. He defeated two primary challengers in the Michigan State Primary election on August 3, 2010.[13]

In the general election, Pappageorge was challenged by newcomer Aaron Bailey, a West Point graduate and Afghanistan veteran.[14] Days before the election, Bailey received the endorsement of the Detroit Free Press.[15]

On election day, Pappageorge defeated Bailey.[16]


  1. Michigan Senate Standing Committees August 23, 2010). Michigan Senate.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "State Representative John Pappegeorge". Biographical Sketches - House. Michigan Legislature. 2003. p. 233. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 "Senator John Pappageorge". Michigan Senate. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Senator John G. Pappageorge (MI)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  5. "CNN". Michigan's Rep. Sander Levin in a Real Race. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  6. Capitol Services, "Meet Your Freshmen Leglislators," (accessed August 16, 2008). Michigan Senate.
  7. "The Poll Tax, Updated". The New York Times. October 7, 2004. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  8. "Pappageorge's comments were not meant to be racist". The Oakland Press. August 16, 2004. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  9. "Gongwer News Service Michigan (Subscription Required)". GONGWER- Volume #45, Report #146 --Tuesday, August 1, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  10. "Levin says Pappageorge resorting to dirty tricks". The Oakland Press. October 28, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  11. "Pappageorge defeats Levin". The Oakland Press. November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  12. "Election Results GENERAL ELECTION November 07, 2006". Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  13. "Pappageorge easily survives primary challenge in state Senate race". Daily Tribune. August 4, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  14. Gray, Kathleen (October 31, 2010). "Democrats facing tough fight throughout county". Detroit Free Press. 
  15. "Shoo-ins and a long shot for Oakland County state Senate | Editorials | Detroit Free Press". 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  16. "2010 Official Michigan General Election Results - 13th District State Senator 4 Year Term (1) Position Files In OAKLAND County". Retrieved 2012-12-02. 

External links[]

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