Voters across Southeast Michigan will make big decisions in Tuesday’s elections about who will lead their communities and whether to approve important ballot questions.
“Now we’re looking at issues of flooding and policing, which have been hot topics for several years, but are coming to the forefront, especially since last year’s Black Lives Matter movement.” –Nargis Rahman, WDET
Although the City of Detroit’s municipal elections are getting a lot of attention, there are some major races taking place in the suburbs as well. Two mayoral races in Dearborn and Pontiac are especially intriguing.
Listen: Local reporters break down mayoral races in Dearborn and Pontiac.
Nargis Rahman is a civic reporter for WDET who has been covering the mayor’s race in Dearborn. State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) hopes to become the first Arab American mayor of Dearborn, a city that has one of the largest Arab populations in the country. He’s facing off against Gary Woronchak, a former state representative from Dearborn and former Wayne County Commission chairman.
“It’s a historic moment, because Dearborn might be electing the first Arab American or Muslim mayor,” says Rahman. “The last time someone ran for this, in such a large capacity for mayor, it was 20 years ago. And it actually all fell down because of 9/11 — and people decided not to vote for Abed Hammoud (no relation to Abdullah Hammoud). And now we’re looking at a possibility of that happening. If Dearborn residents wish to vote for Abdullah Hammoud, who was Arab American, he’s also Muslim, and he’s Lebanese.”
But Rahman says there are many issues on voters’ minds other than identity as well.
“Now we’re looking at issues of flooding and policing, which have been hot topics for several years, but are coming to the forefront, especially since last year’s Black Lives Matter movement,” she says.
Nick Mordowanec is a multimedia journalist for The Oakland Press who has been covering several local races, including the mayoral election in Pontiac. On the ballot in that race are former state House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel and Alexandria T. Riley, the city’s former development chief.
Mordowanec says a big factor in Pontiac’s mayoral race is the federal money the city is receiving through the American Rescue Act. “The city has received $37.7 million in federal money,” he says. “It’s likely going to be the next mayor who comes in at the beginning of next year [who will] figure out how to use that money and infuse it into the community.”