Lane unseats Dulmage, Blackburn comes back strong
DEARBORN — The Board of Education will have a new look on January 1, 2009, after the Arab American community played a key role swaying a heated local election.
Former board member Mary Lane unseated incumbent Sharon Dulmage, receiving 13,698 votes to Dulmage’s 11,390.
Dearborn Board of Education member Aimee Blackburn (R) with son Cody Blackburn, 15, during a post-election celebration at Bint Jebail Cultural Center after news she was re-elected.
Candidates John Corbin and Tamaria Metiva received 9,970 and 2,679 votes, respectively.
Showing a united front, voters in heavy Arab American precincts all over Dearborn came out in large numbers supporting Blackburn and Lane.
Results by precinct show the rest of the city agreed. Blackburn and Lane had support from all four corners of the district.
Over the 22 years that Dulmage has served on the board, she has been at the forefront of many controversial issues regarding Arab American students.
In the south end, Dulmage received the least amount of votes, placing behind Corbin and Metiva.
With volunteers at every polling location, the Arab American Political Action Committee passed out slates supporting candidates for several races, including both Blackburn and Lane.
“Board members need to know that we don’t just complain at meetings. We vote too,” said AAPAC Endorsement Chair Abed Hammoud.
Dearborn Board of Education member-elect Mary Lane (L) speaks to election volunteers at Bint Jebail Cultural Center with AAPAC Endorsement Chair Abed Hammoud on Monday night in preparation for the election.
More than 60 percent of the 18,000 students in the district are of Arab descent.
Parents say it’s more important than ever for the community to remain involved in school decisions.
Hussein Berry, a parent of Dearborn schools students and past school board candidate, said that Lane, who has previously served on the board, makes a good member because her own children attend Dearborn schools.
“Board members who have kids in the district can be a little more understanding of what’s going on,” he said.
Dulmage has a grandchild in the district.
“I’m very, very proud of the community,” Berry said about the unusually high voter turnout among Arab Americans.
About 50 percent of registered voters in heavy Arab American precincts cast ballots.
“That’s great. They made a big difference in a lot of races… We need a board that’s going to work together for the whole city,” Berry said.
Blackburn said she was grateful for the support of the communtiy.
“We need to work together as one community rather than being divided between east and west,” she said. “We’re all one community. We need to work for the best interest of all our children.”