By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
Dearborn, Mich. – This year’s midterm election in Dearborn has a chance to completely redefine the city’s leadership. With seven city council seats up in the air, and two contenders running after O’Reilly’s position, Dearborn is starting over.
Along with the shakeup in municipal leadership, voters have decided to push forward with a Charter Commission that will decide on updating the city’s governing document.
Here’s your guide for who’s running, what’s at stake, and everything you need to know for this year’s election.
Dearborn City Council
After whittling down the original 18 candidates seeking a city in Dearborn City Hall, voters soon choose the next seven leaders for the city.
The four city councilmembers running for reelection – Michael T. Sareini, Leslie Herrick, Erin Byrnes and Robert Abraham – all enjoyed a safe margin in the primary election results. But newcomers mixed in the top spots with incumbents.
Here’s everyone who will be on the Nov. 2 Ballot:
- Robert A. Abraham: Current City Council Member.
- Saeid Mashgari Alawathi: Tax expert and service provider for those with disabilities.
- Kamal Alsawafy: Community Organizer and Graduate of UofM Dearborn and Wayne State University.
- Erin Byrnes: Current City Councilmember and Democratic Engagement Leader for UofM Ann Arbor.
- Silvio Davis: Vice President of Dearborn Goodfellows.
- Lola Elzein: Entrepreneur and graduate of UofM Dearborn, Cooley Law School and Ross School of Business.
- Gary Enos: Bar Owner in Dearborn
- Khodr Farhat: Disability Rights Advocate and former candidate for Dearborn Board of Education.
- Mustapha Hammoud: Ford Engineer and lifelong Dearborn Resident.
- Leslie Herrick: Current City Councilmember and active in city event planning.
- Sam Luqman: Southend-based activist running on a campaign to include all of Dearborn in its government.
- Khalil Othman: Educated IT Professional and youth-oriented community leader.
- Ken Paris: Law Enforcement Veteran running on a public safety and economic platform.
- Michael T. Sareini: Current City Council President Pro-Tem.
(For more information about your candidates, check out the Yemeni American News’ City Council Candidate Guide).
Two candidates have pushed past the others toward a place in the General Election. Gary Woronchak and Abdullah Hammoud both have been running aggressive campaigns in an effort to lead Dearborn for the next four years.
Abdullah Hammoud is a community activist who currently serves Dearborn as its State Representative in Lansing. His voting history indicates a continuous thread of forward-thinking votes for the benefit of children and survivors of sexual abuse and human trafficking.
Hammoud was the first Arab American Representative to be elected for his district. Before being elected to the Michigan House, he worked as a healthcare advisor for the Henry Ford Health System. His platform is based on COVID-19 recovery, Tax Policy and Road Safety.
Endorsements for Abdullah’s campaign are primarily from local trade union chapters such as the United Auto Workers and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Emgage, a Muslim American advocacy group has also endorsed Abdullah’s campaign.
Gary Woronchak is also a former State Representative for the same district and former editor for the Dearborn Press & Guide. His work as a County Commissioner led to new ordinances to address ethics issues in public office, such as a cap on severance pay and plugging the holes for secret deals.
Woronchak is running on a campaign of strong leadership, saying “if the city’s biggest problem changes with the moment, then Dearborn’s most pressing concern is having strong and effective leadership.”
Fundraising for the campaigns has led to a big disparity, with Hammoud raising close to $550,000 and Woronchak at just below $100,000.
The Ballot Language was approved for a proposed millage that would prevent disruptions in city services, but cost tax-payers an average of $167 each year – or $2.75 per $1,000 of taxable value.
According to the Ballot Proposal’s language, unless the millage passes, “programs and service levels will be diminished.”
The millage would last for 3 years, starting July 1, 2022 and ending on June 30, 2025.
Voters in the August primary decided that the city’s charter would be put under review by a commission. The commission will decide how the City’s governing document is updated and revised to better serve the city’s residents.
There are 22 candidates who are campaigning for nine available spots on the Charter Commission:
- Albert Abbas
- Hassan F. Abdallah
- Gussan Abdulkarim
- Richard AlAziz
- Elizabeth Bailey
- Mark J. Dawdy
- Laura Dudgeon
- Sharon L. Dulmage
- Hussein Hachem
- Sam Hamade
- Timothy S. Harrison
- Cheryl D. Hawkins
- Kimberly Ismail
- Jamil Khuja
- Michael Kuentz
- Jim O’Connor
- Glenn O’Kray
- Fatmeh Saad
- Mansour Sharha
- Gail Walls
- Rami Younes
- Jacklin Zeidan
For a complete sample ballot, visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center.