By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Six contenders have now announced intentions to run in the city’s mayoral race, with Hussein Berry, Jim Parrelly, Tom Tafelski and Gary Woronchak joining Susan Dabaja and Abdullah Hammoud.
Berry is a member of the Dearborn Board of Education, while Parrelly is a financial advisor. Tafelski is a former city county president and Woronchak is a former state representative and former Wayne County commissioner. Dabaja is current city council president, and Hammoud is a state representative.
Parrelly and Tafelski ran against current Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. in 2017, with Tafelski advancing to the primary.
A school board member and a local Realtor, Berry said he learned about volunteering 45 years ago from his Salina School English teacher, Iris Becker, who taught her students to give back to the community through public service.
Berry has served on many community boards and committees, including two decades as president of the Dearborn Youth Football and Cheerleading Association.
In a social media post, he said the time was right for him to pursue the office of mayor.
“I look forward to sharing my ideas and plans for our beloved Dearborn,” he said. “Now it is time for me to serve our community at the highest position.”
A financial advisor, who ran for mayor in 2017, Parrelly said he will aggressively support lowering city taxes by streamlining services, building more housing, attracting new businesses and creating incentives for residents.
“Dearborn needs a leader who is laser focused on making sure your money is spent effectively and wisely,” he said. “The career politicians have only ever given us excuses as to why it can’t happen.”
Parrelly said he will focus on creating an environment in the city that attracts investment, which will in turn create local jobs and encourage families to live in Dearborn.
“Dearborn will be better positioned if we concentrate on growing the tax base and lessening our dependency on Ford,” he said.
He said he is looking forward to working with Ford Motor Co. officials, and said they need someone in city hall who understands the current business environment.
Parrelly also pledged to continue training for first responders, following questions raised after last summer’s racial unrest.
He said Dearborn’s diversity is one of its strengths.
“Our Arab American community has been instrumental in revitalizing Dearborn’s economy throughout the city,” he said. “Their hard work and dedication are a model for all Americans.”
Tafelski served as a city council member from 2001 to 2016, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2017 against O’Reilly.
He said he will focus on issues which benefit the entire community, including: a strong, diversified local economy with good jobs, which encourages investment; housing for all community needs, from seniors to professionals to families; a vibrant cultural life for young people; essential infrastructure; and safe neighborhoods, parks and business districts.
“As your next mayor, I will return this city to its roots, by preserving its great heritage and diversity,” he said.
Woronchak, a past newspaper editor, state representative and Wayne County commissioner, said he held off on announcing his mayoral candidacy until O’Reilly announced he was not seeking another term.
He said holding positions of responsibility in Dearborn has prepared him to serve as its mayor.
“Our community faces continued challenges from the pandemic, not just in public health, but also its devastating effects on small businesses, how it has impacted our children’s education, and the general economy,” he said. “Long term impacts on the financial health of our government and the continued delivery of important services are unknown. Our challenges demand strong leadership and an ability to bring people together, and keep them informed and engaged as we move forward as one Dearborn.”