By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Following his primary win in the Dearborn mayoral race, state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud said his focus remains on the issues impacting working families.
“We not only won nearly every single precinct across the whole city on election day, we also won the absentee vote,” he said. “We did fairly well across every demographic, every age group, every segment and corner of the city, and it’s because our message is resonating that we want to focus on bold, innovative solutions to tackle these issues that have faced us for so long.”
Hammond faces Gary Woronchak, former state representative and county commissioner, in the Nov. 2 general election.
With the recent flooding on so many residents’ mind, Hammoud said their biggest concern is the visibility of leadership.
“If you compare what we’ve done, relative to others, immediately when the flooding happened, we put on our work boots, we assembled teams, we went door-to-door and assisted residents with clearing debris, and pumping out water,” he said. “I was able to connect with Samaritan’s Purse, and make sure they were activated here in the city of Dearborn.”
Hammoud said he then went to work in Lansing, and secured $10 million to assist flood victims throughout Wayne County, which he said will allocate a portion of it to the city of Dearborn, and may help flood victims who are denied by insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
He said he is supportive of getting a third-party assessment, then taking what they advocate and moving forward.
“I am also supportive of the conversations that have been happening at the state level, where we have Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, as well as regional and statewide stakeholders, talking about this problem from a climate crisis perspective that is impacting the whole region, not just one city,” Hammoud said.
“Once we have the assessment of the why and how this happened, then we can begin to roll up our sleeves and look to examples of neighboring municipalities, of how we address this.”
He said over the last decade medians should have been converted to retention basins for water, and rain gardens should be incentivized.
“We should be identifying parcels of land that can be used as giant reservoirs for water,” Hammoud said. “We have to be thinking creatively and innovatively, but we also need assistance from all levels of government.”
As mayor, Hammoud said he would taking an active role not only in meetings, but in reaching out to residents.
“We want city government to work for people, and that means hosting block parties, neighborhood gatherings where myself and my administration are present, asking residents of every single neighborhood across the city what it is they want the administration to do and accomplish and tackle,” he said.
“This means taking budget briefings on the road, and not only having them at the city council here, but also having budget briefing town halls in all parts of the community, so people can come and provide input on the priorities and values they want the budget to reflect.”
Hammoud said the tenacity and energy he has brought to his campaign will be extended to his administration, and he does not see it as a stepping stone to a higher office, but is about serving his hometown, the community where he hopes to raise his own family someday.
“We would build a community that I could see my children growing up in, and having the same love and passion that many of us do for Dearborn,” he said. “But unless we are willing to tackle those issues, I really feel Dearborn is not headed in the right direction.”
Hammoud said the election is not about ethnicity, but is about having the ability to stand up and having the political courage to speak out and advocate for the change the residents want to see.
“I certainly hope this election is focused on electing who we believe is the most qualified, who has the willingness to tackle the issues and building solutions,” he said. “We have concrete solutions and proposals on our website, in multiple languages, about the real issues residents want to tackle.”
Hammoud said experience is not the number of years someone has accumulated in office, but what one has done with the years that they have served.
“Over the last five years, we have demonstrated an ability to tackle the tough issues in Lansing, and bring down more resources than ever before,” he said. “Prior to running for office, I helped manage the nation’s largest retiree trust fund, something we need to grapple with in the city of Dearborn as we talk about unfunded liabilities.
“So, all of the experiences and the success that I have had, in the years that I have had, are what put me in a position to be the strongest candidate in the general election.”
Hammoud said his website, votehammoud.com, outlines his plan to address property taxes in a smart, innovative way that does not impact city services.
“I’m not suggesting we cut our tax rate in half, but what I do chart out is a pathway to bring us down to average throughout the cities in Wayne County, so it is no longer a leading factor why residents are fleeing the city of Dearborn,” he said.
Hammoud said he will support and fund the city’s public safety departments, and he has demonstrated his support in Lansing by protecting police and fire pensions and health care.
He said there is a plan of his website to tackle the speeding and reckless driving.
“Our policies are informed by our police officers, firefighters and dispatchers, and by our residents, who are concerned about issues of public safety,” Hammoud said. “We believe we can put forth a proposal that works better for residents and first responders.”
He said he will continue to campaign by focusing on issues the residents want tackled and the solutions he plans to bring forward.
“People want to vote for something – that is what we demonstrated in the primary,” Hammoud said. “I need to demonstrate why they should vote for me. I am not running against anybody in this race. I am running for something, and that is to represent Dearborn.”
He said he is not running on why someone else is not good enough, but why he is the best candidate for the job.
Hammoud said as a public health professional and an epidemiologist, he has a robust pandemic recovery plan and an economic recovery plan on his website.
“We are not running on bullet points, and things that we have done in the past,” he said. “We are running on bold solutions to tackle the issues that are facing our residents today and tomorrow.”