By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — What started as a campaign following the death of a family member in October 2015, ended with the first Muslim to represent Michigan’s 15th House District for Abdullah Hammoud.
A Dearborn resident his entire life, Hammoud focused his campaign for state representative on the community and its people.
“The opportunity presented itself and I wanted to use the platform to give back to the city that gave everything to me,” he said.
Hammoud cited his older brother as his biggest inspiration and advocate to enter the election just a month after his death.
“I want to be what my brother was for me for my community,” he said. “It was a selfish time, but my family understood. The only thing missing after the victory was my brother who I know is watching over all of us.”
The 26-year-old is currently a healthcare adviser for the Henry Ford Health System and board member for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
Hammoud received a bachelor’s in science and a master’s in public health from the University of Michigan.
Becoming the first Muslim to represent Dearborn in the Legislature was a major accomplishment, he said, but never the main area of focus.
“It’s great that there will be another Arab-American and Muslim among the 110 legislators,” he said. “I never ran with that focus, I’m here to serve all of Dearborn and its residents to the best of my abilities.”
Hammoud won the seat Nov. 8 after a year of campaigning, but he viewed the Aug. 2 primary election as the bigger challenge. He beat out five other candidates, earning the spot on the Democratic side of the general election ballot.
“It’s good that the campaigning is over,” he said. “I’m excited to hit the ground running in January when I take office.”
The two-year seat became available after current state Rep. George Darany reached his six-year term limit.
Hammoud said Darany, other legislators and the Democratic Caucus have been helping in the transition process since the election.
“I’m working on identifying the important issues which will stem from what local organizations and residents told me during the campaign,” he said. “I am also hiring my team members for when my term begins.”
During the next few weeks Hammoud will continue to communicate with Darany and submit 10 bills to the policy team to draft per his request.
“The strategy is to look at important issues that impact Dearborn residents and at the issues Darany was working on and could not finish,” Hammoud said. “I’m looking forward to assuming office and getting to work for the city.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])