DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State Representative Abdullah Hammoud won Dearborn’s mayoral race on Tuesday, making him the city’s first Arab-American mayor.
A final unofficial general election vote tally on the town’s website showed Hammoud beat Gary Woronchak, a former three-term state representative and former Wayne County commissioner, by a 55% margin at 45%.
Dearborn is a city of around 100,000 people with one of the largest Arab-American populations in the country.
Hammoud, 31, is a Muslim. His parents immigrated to the United States from Lebanon.
âTo young girls and boys who have already been ridiculed for their faith or their ethnicity. To those of you who once felt their names were unwelcome and to our parents and elders and others who are humiliated for their broken and yet persistent English, today is proof that you are as American as anyone else and there is a new era in Dearborn, âhe said.
Hammoud is serving his third term at Michigan House. He holds a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan.
Dearborn has a large Arab-American population, but the city’s past includes the efforts of longtime segregationist mayor Orville Hubbard to prevent black families from settling in the then predominantly white community. Hubbard was mayor from 1942 to 1977 and died in 1982.
Dearborn City Council voted earlier this year to remove Hubbard’s name from a Civic Center ballroom, and a statue of him was removed from outside City Hall in 2015 as a result pressure from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The statue was then stored on the grounds of the Dearborn Historical Museum until last June, when it was taken apart and handed over to the Hubbard family.
Over the past few decades, Dearborn has become more racially diverse. About a third of the city’s residents are of Middle Eastern descent and about 4% are black.
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