While at Michigan State University, Joe was a walk-on member of the baseball team. In his senior year, Joe led the Spartans in hitting, received his team’s Sportsmanship Award and was named to the All-Big Ten and All-America teams as a second baseman. He is a lifetime member of the Michigan State University Varsity Alumni Club.
The Democrat was first elected to serve Downriver residents as a state representative in 1984, and he served for seven terms in the Michigan House of Representatives until term limits first took effect. In 1998, Palamara was elected to the Wayne County Commission, where he currently serves as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and also sits on the Economic Development and Government Operations committees. He is an ardent champion of the Downriver communities in District 15, which include Ecorse, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, River Rouge, Riverview, Southgate, Trenton and Wyandotte.