The August 3 primary is fast approaching. Get to know the candidates running for local office in your community with 101.9 FM WDET’s Candidate Guides. Surveys were distributed to candidates to complete and you can see the responses for candidates for Dearborn Mayor below.
Related Race: Dearborn City Council
Candidate did not respond to survey request. Visit his campaign website.
Current job: Dearborn City Council President, Attorney
Education: Edsel Ford High School (1995); Bachelor’s of Science, University of Michigan - Dearborn (2000); Juris Doctorate, University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law, Magna Cum Laude (2004) Rank: 1
About Susan Dabaja: I am a dedicated and passionate public servant with a committed work ethic, using my voice to move the City forward. I am now in my second term proudly serving the City of Dearborn as Council President.
As a young mother, I graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in 2000. After giving birth to my second child during law school, I graduated from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law in 2004, earning my Juris Doctorate degree, magna cum laude, graduating first in my law school class. I have been a Dearborn attorney for over 17 years, representing many Dearborn families and businesses while specializing in multiple areas of law.
I am a mother of three children, Claudia (22), Joel (17) and Adam (15). I am also deeply embedded in my community, for to me, service is a value. My community service includes my role as the co-chair of the Dearborn Education Foundation, chair of the State of Michigan’s Local Community Stabilization Authority (LCSA), member of the Citizen Advisory Committee for the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a Dearborn Rotarian, and a volunteer for Dearborn Goodfellows and neighborhood clean-ups. I consider this work integral because it speaks to my origins, when my family and I sometimes sought assistance from community organizations as a young child.
Why are you running for Dearborn Mayor? I understand the unique challenges and opportunities our city has been facing. As a practicing attorney, active volunteer, and City Council President, I am the only person with recent and relevant municipal experience to run our city government effectively. I have worked diligently as Council President to tackle tough challenges and forge solutions that work for Dearborn and I know that I can and will accomplish much more as Mayor. I am confident that everything I have gained from my personal and professional lives - the balance, the work ethic, the empathy, the experience and strength of character - has prepared me to lead our city. With my leadership, institutional knowledge, legal experience, and passion, Dearborn will thrive in ways we haven’t seen before. As Mayor, I will continue my dedicated record of serving Dearborn, offering new ideas for an ever-changing city at a very critical time. You can trust me to be the serious leader Dearborn needs—a unifier, a go-getter, and a trusted public servant—to take Dearborn into a more prosperous tomorrow.
“As a practicing attorney, active volunteer, and City Council President, I am the only person with recent and relevant municipal experience to run our city government effectively.” — Susan A. Dabaja
What is the most important issue facing Dearborn? Our most pressing issue as we continue to recover from the long-lasting impacts of the pandemic and more recently the devastating flood damage is that — now more than ever — our city needs a strong, unifying leader.
How would you address that issue? There is only one way to move forward and that is together. As Mayor, I will do everything I can to make sure we are working hand-in-hand, as one community, for a better Dearborn. I will focus on getting to the bottom of this flood by calling for an investigation and evaluation of our sewer system. I have called on state and federal partners to find the funding for a complete overhaul of the sewer system. These are vital steps to ensuring we fully recover from the devastation and we do everything possible to prevent future disasters.
Unfortunately, the flood isn’t the only crisis we are recovering from. We continue to see the impacts of COVID-19 throughout our community, from struggling businesses to families that suffered the tragic loss of a loved one. That’s why I have searched high and low for the crucial support our community needs including the Dearborn Small Business Grant Program, the Eviction Prevention Support Program, as well as securing vaccines for our seniors. I will continue doing everything I can to help our families recover and set our economy back on track in a safe and successful way.
What actions/decisions by the current mayoral administration or city council have you disagreed with? I currently sit on the City Council as President and feel confident that every decision I have made has been for the betterment of our community as a whole. This experience in the legislative branch gives me a unique perspective to be able to understand what we should be doing more of, what we need to tackle and where we need to go as a community. From enhancing our city services to investing in the use of technology to foster growth, development and communication, I will utilize my first-hand experience to revitalize our city.
Current job: State Representative for District 15, Dearborn
Education: I earned a Bachelor’s in Science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
About Abdullah Hammoud: I am currently serving my third term in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the city of Dearborn, my hometown. As a proud son of immigrant parents, I learned the value of hard work and community. From serving tables at the Henry Ford Village to sweeping the floors at my father’s local grocery store, I understand the stories and struggles of working families. I am the proud husband of Dr. Fatima Beydoun, a physician and frontline hero at a local health system. We are homeowners in the city and hope to grow our family here.
During my time in Lansing, I have been recognized as an economic development champion for my work in support of small businesses, a healthcare champion of hope for my work to increase access to quality care, and a leader in the fight to protect our land, air, and water. From volunteering at community cleanups to advocating to raise awareness for mental health conditions, I have consistently given back to the community that fostered my growth and success.
Why are you running for Dearborn Mayor? Recently, I ran into my friends, Mike and Sarah, at a local coffee shop. They were born and raised in this community, attended schools here, and always imagined growing their family here, but they moved to Livonia, citing Dearborn is not what it used to be. The truth is, they’re not wrong. Over the last ten years, property taxes and water rates have gone up, and the number of traffic incidents have skyrocketed, creating dangerous roadways in our neighborhoods for our families.
I’m running to be Dearborn’s next Mayor because we need someone who fights for working families and keeps them here. My administration will make it a priority to lower our property taxes and enhance city services, to protect our community from reckless drivers and to guide our economic recovery to build back stronger than ever. We will bring bold and trusted leadership to the Mayor’s office. As the only campaign with a real vision for our city, my team and I wanted to show you our blueprint for Dearborn. For more details on my campaign’s policies, check out votehammoud.com/issues. We need your help to move Dearborn forward.
“I’m running to be Dearborn’s next Mayor because we need someone who fights for working families and keeps them here. My administration will make it a priority to lower our property taxes and enhance city services, to protect our community from reckless drivers and to guide our economic recovery to build back stronger than ever.” — Abdullah Hammoud
What is the most important issue facing Dearborn? There are countless issues to tackle within the city - all equally important- but, as Mayor, we will first work to establish a line of communication with residents and ensure an accessible, trusted, and capable team is built to move our city forward. We will then work to bring forward solutions to lower property taxes and enhance city services, make our roads and neighborhoods safer from reckless drivers, improve our air and water quality, and provide stronger support for our small businesses.
How would you address that issue? Dearborn levies some of the highest local taxes in Wayne County, yet for Dearborn to prosper and compete with neighboring communities, we must find a solution that brings relief to our families’ pockets while supporting them in the process. My team and I have thought carefully about how to maintain Dearborn’s current budget without increasing property taxes, while ensuring that city services and long-term infrastructure projects are funded. We have put forth a five-part solution to reduce property taxes, generate new city dollars, and enhance city operations. A thorough explanation of my plan is outlined at votehammoud.com/issues.
What actions/decisions by the current mayoral administration or city council have you disagreed with? Our current administration has not placed an emphasis on transparency and accountability with the community at large. I will change that. We will make available information and resources in multiple languages, hold town halls and coffee hours across our city, and meet people where they are — that is accessible leadership. While canvassing across our city, we have heard that people feel as if their neighborhood does not receive the same attention and resources as others do. As Mayor, I will ensure equitable resources across the board, as well as improve communication to increase understanding of city operations.
Current job: Financial Advisor and Entrepreneur
About Jim Parrelly: I have been in this city my whole life. Started out in East Dearborn. Then lived in Springwell Park in East Dearborn after Denise and I married. Shortly after, we moved to West Dearborn and lived on Fairmount Street for 35 years. A few years ago, Denise and I moved into a downtown condo on Garrison St.
Why are you running for Dearborn Mayor? I’m running to bring innovation, new energy, and fresh ideas to City Hall. I have been in the finance business for 40 years. I have also invested in innovative projects. Along the way, I have helped companies adapt to changing environments.
I am the only candidate who brings decades of business expertise to the office. The Mayor of Dearborn is a CEO and needs to act like it. Further, I have consistently talked about celebrating the diversity of our city. Our diversity is our greatest asset. It should be reflected in everything we do, from marketing our city to hiring our employees. My slogan has always been: Diversity. Unity. Prosperity. Let’s celebrate our diversity, unite our city, and lead it into a new era of prosperity. Finally, I am the only candidate who has pledged to keep our popular and wonderful police chief Ronald Haddad. He has been an amazing asset to the city, and my opponents are playing politics with public safety by pledging to fire him.
“Our diversity is our greatest asset. It should be reflected in everything we do, from marketing our city to hiring our employees. My slogan has always been: Diversity. Unity. Prosperity. Let’s celebrate our diversity, unite our city, and lead it into a new era of prosperity.” — Jim Parrelly
What is the most important issue facing Dearborn? The most pressing issues revolve around economics. Our high property taxes are unsustainable. If we want to keep and attract young families, we need to address this by widening the pie of revenue and managing finances more effectively. We can do that by streamlining services, implementing technology, building more modern housing, and aggressively attracting more business to the city. I will make it a priority to turn Dearborn into a home for tech startups by installing a tech incubator in the city.
We will face many economic challenges in a post-pandemic world. Ford is undergoing seismic change, and we will have to implement sound financial management to navigate it all. A strong Ford is good for Dearborn. And a strong Dearborn is good for Ford.
The flood showed us that politics as usual isn’t working for Dearborn. This same thing happened in 2014, and we let it happen again. How could that be? It’s time to get away from the career politicians and insert fresh energy into City Hall.
What actions/decisions by the current mayoral administration or city council have you disagreed with? The current administration and council obviously did not address the 2014 flood adequately. There is no reason we should not have been prepared for another rain like this. It didn’t have to be this bad.
Candidate did not respond to survey request. Visit his campaign website.
Candidate did not respond to survey request. Visit her campaign website.