Know Your Candidates: Dearborn City Council

By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News

Dearborn, Mich. – On Aug. 3, the City of Dearborn will select 14 of its best candidates for City Council, before the general election’s 7, possibly changing the entire makeup of the elected body.

18 candidates are competing for the open seats that have decided Dearborn’s COVID-19 response, redefined the character of the city, and continuously guided the financial future of city operations. Nearly all of the 18 candidates are putting their full effort into competitive campaigns, making this race what could be a close contest.

In this race, Arab Americans are represented like never before, with more than half of candidates coming from Dearborn’s Arab American community. Many are lifelong Dearborn residents whose years of involvement with the city has built rapport with potential voters.

Four current Dearborn City Councilmembers are running for re-election. Leslie Herrick, Erin Byrnes, Robert Abraham and Mike Sareini are all running on a promise to continue the work that took Dearborn through the COVID-19 Pandemic and other decisions made by the City Council.

All 18 Candidates for City Council are listed here. For more information on a candidate you’re interested in, see below.


Houda Berri

Berri is a practicing lawyer in Dearborn, specializing in Immigration, Criminal and Family Law. A lifelong Dearborn resident and 1st generation Attorney, Berri’s hope is to make a city for everyone.

“Dearborn is my city, but most importantly it is our city,” Berri said. “As Council Member, it is my duty to make sure your voice is heard. Together we can make Dearborn a city for everyone.”


Samraa Luqman

A Dearborn-Area activist and mother of two, Luqman worked as an advocate in the American Yemeni women’s Association. Her work took on issues like education, civic issues, and environmental justice concerns.

Currently, Luqman is working on environmental justice issues in Dearborn’s southend, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country, per a report by the Environmental Protection Agency.


Mustapha Hammoud

As a lifelong Dearborn resident, Hammoud is looking to focus on tax spending and public services. He decided to run based on a desire to “give back” to the city that raised him.

Hammoud works as an Engineer for Ford, handling large projects for the automotive company.


Gary Enos

(No public information available)


Lola Elzein

Having graduated from University of Michigan-Dearborn, Cooley Law School, and UofM’s Ross School of Business, Elzein’s educational background serves the entrepreneur’s campaign well.

At the top of Elzein’s list of priorities is working to ensure the best services for the city. Public Safety, Property Taxes and city services are also among her priorities.


Khodr Farhat

An area activist for those with disabilities and other causes, Farhat is a University of Michigan-Dearborn educated politician – formerly running for Dearborn’s Board of Education.

“Whether it’s fighting to re-establish a commission to represent those with disabilities in our city, protesting corporate polluters in the South End, or advocating for lower property taxes, my goal is to bring the community together and be a voice for reason.”


Ken Paris

This 39-year law enforcement veteran is prioritizing fiscal policy, public safety, investment in development and increased efficiency for city services.

Having worked through Dearborn Police Department and University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Public Safety Department, Paris believes he has “the credentials to earn your vote based on my demonstrated commitment to City affairs, experience, motivation, integrity, honesty and ability to be fair and balanced.”


Saeid Alawathi

Working for ACCESS as a Business Employment Service Specialist, Alawathi is prioritizing City Services, improving public safety, and managing city spending. Drawing from his 20-year experience as an income tax preparation specialist.


Kamel Elkadri

A long-time supporter of local initiatives around Dearborn, Elkadri works as a spring baseball coach above his career serving elderly community members. He’s running his campaign on the goals of equal representation and services for all Dearborn residents, as well as public safety and tax reduction.


Silvio Davis

Born and raised in Dearborn, Davis calls himself a “passionate advocate for preserving Dearborn’s public pools.” He works as a personal lines supervisor for an insurance company, and also serves as the vice president of Dearborn Goodfellows.


Jonathon Akkari

Akkari is a first-generation university student and the first of his family to obtain a professional degree. His priorities include comprehensive public safety, fair and affordable housing, and environmental justice for Dearborn.

“I’m running for City Council to fight for our working families and ensure we all have the chance to succeed,” Akkari said.


Khalil Othman

Among the first to publicly announce his candidacy, Othman is running on 5 priorities and a number of professional degrees and certificates. His priorities are ensuring public health and safety, reducing property taxes, reducing water rates, creating youth development programs and sustaining a clean environment.


Kamal Alsawafy

Community organizer, lifelong Dearborn resident and Graduate of both University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University, Kamal Alsawafy put his candidacy on the ballot early.

“I am running for City Council to be your voice, to put in the work and to fight for Dearborn,” Alsawafy said.


Ziad Abdulmalik

(No public information available)


Leslie Herrick

One of four current councilmembers currently seeking re-election, Leslie Herrick is seeking her second term with Dearborn’s City Council. She ran her last campaign on major projects like the Dearborn Homecoming Festival.

Born in Dearborn, Herrick has been working a public relations practice for many years.


Erin Byrnes

Coming through her first term as a Dearborn City Councilmember, Byrnes continues to work as a Democratic Engagement Leader for the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

“Throughout my first term, I have been a strong advocate for equality and inclusion, and have supported public safety and public health measures to care for our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Mike Sareini

Currently serving as the Dearborn City Council President Pro-Tempore, Sareini’s background includes a degree from Cooley Law School and a slew of endorsements from local institutions and organizations.


Robert Abraham

Abraham is the longest-serving Dearborn City Councilmember who’s seeking re-election, having first been elected in 2002.

With a long list of institutions he stays engaged with, Abraham is seeking to continue his work with a sixth term on the City Council.