By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – A second mayoral candidate has announced an intention to run, with state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) announcing his candidacy Jan. 25 at Salina Elementary, with the Ford Rouge plant as a backdrop.
He spoke of his record in the Michigan House, from his cost-saving measures, to health initiatives and his environmental priorities.
In announcing his mayoral run, Hammoud said that he has made a commitment to focus on the impact of policies on those he represents.
“Every policy debate needs to start with the question, ‘How does this impact the people?’” he said. “We’ve all seen, over the past year, how much leadership matters. The daily lives of people are most impacted by their local government.”
Hammoud said the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Dearborn.
“It has had a devastating impact on our neighborhoods, disrupted two school years, and we have lost far too many of our loved ones,” he said. “Witnessing how this pandemic affected our community, our neighbors, our friends, our family and our frontline heroes, one of which is standing beside me, my wife, Dr. Fatima Beydoun, reminded me of just how resilient Dearborn is.”
Hammoud said one must ask what must be done to combat the coronavirus, and what must be done after the public health crisis passes.
“The crisis forces evaluations, and reflection on what we have done well, what we can do better, and what we need to do differently,” he said. “In Dearborn, it is going to take energy, tenacity and relentless advocacy to get it right. We are going to need to innovate and collaborate, and we are going to need to put in the hard work to emerge stronger.”
Hammoud said he feels that, going forward, he can make a bigger difference for the people of the city as their mayor than as their state representative.
“Should I be elected, I will lead with the same tenacity I have led with over the past four years as Dearborn state representative,” he said. “With the same heart and commitment, and with the community’s best interests guiding each and every decision.”
Hammoud said people and the community will come first.
“For far too long, people have tried to divide us,” he said. “South, east and west, Arab, black, Latino and white. But although the issues we face may sometimes differ, our values should be one.”
Hammoud spoke of the impact of pollution on children, the struggles of small business owners and the needs of senior citizens to maintain as much independence as possible.
“Those are our values, and they will drive the decisions we make,” he said.
Hammoud called for lower property taxes, to be accomplished with a more efficient government, and said that city services need to reflect the quality for which residents pay, which extends to trash pickup, libraries and parks.
Additionally, he called for the enhancement of life for all residents.
“For me, that always starts with the public’s health – physical, mental and environmental,” Hammoud said. “Access to the best education, and support for our seniors.”
He called for the development of a public safety model that works better for residents and for first responders, and said stronger support needs to be provided for the business community.
“Small businesses have been devastated by COVID-19,” Hammoud said. “They have had to cut staff and close their doors. These businesses power our economy, and are the fabric of our Dearborn community, and we need to empower them to get back on their feet and must do more to ensure that they thrive.”
He said he has proven his ability to work with other government leaders, from the city council to Congress, on issues that make a direct impact on residents.
“I have never stopped working for the Dearborn community,” Hammoud said. “We must face the challenges that have come before us for far too long. It starts with working together to make Dearborn the best city that it can be.”
Hammoud, the son of Lebanese immigrant parents, attended McDonald Elementary, Woodworth Middle School and Fordson High School before earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan.
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., who has served 14 years as mayor, and 17 years on the city council, is not seeking re-election.
City Council President Susan Dabaja recently announced her mayoral run. Dearborn Public Schools Trustee Hussein Berry stated his intention to run on social media, but has not yet made an official announcement.
The next mayor will be the city’s seventh person to hold the office. Clyde Ford was the first mayor, in 1929, followed by John Carey in 1936, Orville Hubbard in 1942, John O’Reilly Sr. in 1978, Michael Guido in 1986, and John O’Reilly Jr. in 2006.
For more information about Hammoud, go to VoteHammoud.com.