Dearborn to be sworn in as first Arab-American and Muslim mayor

Abdullah Hammoud will be officially sworn in as mayor of Dearborn on Saturday, the first Arab-American and first Muslim mayor in the American city with the highest concentration of Arabs.

The mayor and members of the Dearborn City Council and Charter Commission will be inaugurated at 1 p.m. in a historic ceremony at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.

Attendees are required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours, and wear masks during the ceremony.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud

Hammoud has been mayor since January 1. He appointed the city’s first Muslim police chief as the elected mayor.

Hammoud succeeds John “Jack” O’Reilly Jr., mayor since 2007, whose administration came under fire for its handling of flooding in suburban Detroit last summer.

The former House lawmaker becomes just the seventh leader of the city of nearly 110,000 people.

Hammoud, 31, was raised in a working-class family in Dearborn. His parents immigrated from Lebanon and struggled to make ends meet before founding their own successful family business.

He attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he earned a master’s degree in public health and a master’s degree in business administration.

Hammoud worked as a health care consultant before being elected state representative for Michigan’s 15th district in 2016. He served three terms in the state legislature, where he helped pass 11 bills laws and resolutions.

His campaign touted funds he helped secure as a lawmaker, including $10 million for Dearborn Public Schools, $6.7 million to build the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Henry Ford College as well as $1.25 million for a consolidated 911 dispatch center.

Hammoud drew praise from voters for a proposal to tackle property taxes, which residents say are higher than surrounding suburbs.

Dearborn’s mileage for a primary residence in 2020 ranged from 53.7 to 61.1 mills by school district, compared to 48.4 to 57.9 in Dearborn Heights, 51.1 in Taylor, and 44.7 to 56.8 in Westland.

Hammoud emphasized a five-part plan that he said would lower property taxes, generate new dollars for the city and improve operations. The proposal includes stimulating new housing and commercial development, and securing $100 million to pay off the city’s unfunded debt to fully fund the city’s pension obligations and other post-retirement benefits. employment.

That could be affected, he said, by an extra mile on the ballot asking voters to allow the city to levy 2.75 mills for three years beginning July 1 to fund operations such as the public security. This would cost the average homeowner $167 per year.

Hammoud supports a third-party assessment of the city’s sewage system and hopes to convert plots of land into retention ponds to manage excessive rainfall and evaluate the addition of relief valves for homes.

Dearborn is considered the birthplace of Ford Motor Co. and has garnered international attention as the hometown of Henry Ford, Greenfield Village, and as the most densely populated Arab-American community in the nation.

How to watch

• Visit www.cityofdearborn.org and click on the banner at the top of the page

• Watch on YouTube at City of Dearborn – YouTube

• Connect to Facebook Live on the City’s Facebook page: City of Dearborn Government at: https://www.facebook.com/CityofDearborn and Mayor Hammoud’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook. com/AHammoudMI

• Tune to CDTV on channel 10 for WOW! Subscribers and Channel 12 for Comcast Subscribers

• Watch the CDTV livestream on this link: https://media.discovervideo.com/show?vg=1683184194&vt=2

• A full replay of the event will be available from Sunday, January 16 at any time via CDTV’s on-demand link: https://cdtv.viebit.com/index.php?folder=ALL

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Twitter: @kbouffardDN

Writer Mark Hicks contributed.

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