(Photo Courtesy of the Amer Ghalib Campaign)
By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
(Results are according to the Wayne County Results Page and have been updated as of 11:12PM, Nov. 2.)
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – In the race to represent the city of Hamtramck, new challengers have almost completely redefined the city and its leadership. Making history as the city’s first Muslim and Arab American mayor since the first demographic shift into a majority-Muslim enclave is Amer Ghalib. And bridging that history is the city’s first Polish and Muslim councilwoman.
As the transition into the city’s new leadership comes into focus for January 1st, the new leaders of Hamtramck have already accomplished so much with their campaign. But the real work comes ahead.
The Mayoral Race
Amer Ghalib has officially become the new Mayor of Hamtramck, unseating Karen Majewski who has served as Mayor for the past 16 years. He campaigned on being a voice for the Yemeni and Bengali majority of Hamtramck and a candidate of change. He won by 68.24% of the vote.
Since he began his campaign, Ghalib has been adamant about involving citizens in the process of governance. With Hamtramck’s challenges of this year, Ghalib has promised resolutions through a cooperative effort. However the political novice will now need to prove himself, and his leadership, if he hopes to continue any further than the next four years.
Opponents of Ghalib’s campaign criticized him for not offering concrete solutions for the everyday problems of Hamtramck. Throughout a few debates, mayor Karen Majewski seemed to offer her experience as the only way that Hamtramck can overcome its challenges. While Ghalib maintained that Majewski shouldn’t lead the city after all the obstacles that happened under her leadership.
Ghalib will take the reins of Hamtramck City Hall on Jan. 1, 2022. Soon to be Hamtramck’s first Muslim and Arab American Mayor, this is an exciting and historic moment for the City and its diverse populace.
Hamtramck City Council
As one of the most exciting candidates to come into the City Council Race, Khalil Refai handily won his place in the next Hamtramck City Council. Running on a campaign that collected the most donations, with groups of volunteers seen throughout the city and a myriad of endorsements, this candidates’ hard campaign shows a new and welcome face to Hamtramck City Council. (19.16% of the vote)
Amanda Jaczkowski has carried her campaign to one of the three available seats. Being among the candidates with a concrete plan of action for her time in office, Amanda has created a compelling campaign. After recently earning her master’s degree in Public Administration, the newly elected City Councilmember has big plans for improving the city. (18.75% of the vote)
Adam Albarmaki is the youngest to win a seat on Hamtramck’s City Council. The political beginner is an engineering student at Wayne State University. Albarmaki ran a campaign on working to solve the city’s numerous challenges, such as the looming budget shortfall and infrastructure challenges. Originally finishing fourth in the August primary, his come-back in the polls shows a strong late-stage campaign. (18.08% of the vote)
Proposed Charter Revisions
After the current City Council’s decision to address long-term candidates and residency issues, voters considered whether these should change the nature of who can run, and when.
The Proposed Amendment to fix the residency requirement to one year of continuous residency before running for office has passed. Although this does not affect any current member of city government, the next elections will most likely see residency under higher scrutiny.
Voters have also decided to impose new term limits for elected officials in this election. For new and old candidates, elected office will now be limited to three terms, starting after this election. The major impact would mean that a candidate like Mayor Karen Majewski would not be able to lead the city for decades ever again.