It is time once again for our election endorsements. There are many important seats and issues at stake on August 4. We present below what we feel are the most qualified candidates and one important non-partisan ballot proposal in a city near and dear to us.
Readers might notice that our endorsement list matches, with some exceptions, that of the Arab American Political Action Committee’s (AAPAC) 2020 election endorsements. That is because we believe in both the research and the vetting process that AAPAC has undertaken for decades in endorsing qualified candidates and important issues. The Arab American News believes in the power of voter mobilization and direct civic engagement, especially among strong ethnic and minority communities like ours.
Our community has made tremendous strides and put forth our issues, concerns, fears and hopes on the mainstream political landscape of this great nation. We urge you to get out there and vote, hopefully for these candidates and one proposal, to ensure this work of protecting our communities continues.
The Arab American News endorsements for the August 4 primary election
Debbie Dingell (D) – U.S. Representative – District 12
A member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. Dingell is a leader in efforts to grow manufacturing, improve access to quality affordable health care, support seniors and veterans and protect the Great Lakes. Recognized as one of the 25 hardest-working members of Congress, Dingell is focused on forging bipartisan solutions that support Michigan’s families and economy, including improving long-term care and ushering in the future of the American auto industry, and continues to fight to make education more affordable and accessible.
In July, Rep. Dingell voted against H.Res.246, which condemned the BDS movement as counterproductive to peace efforts in the Middle East. She was one of only 17 members of Congress to vote against the legislation.
Rep. Dingell has been a vocal opponent of U.S. involvement in the Yemen civil war. She championed War Powers legislation to end U.S. involvement in the conflict and has voted multiple times in favor of ending U.S. weapons and logistical support for the Saudi-led coalition.
Rashida Tlaib (D) – U.S. Representative – District 13
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib has worked as a public interest lawyer, which shaped her as a public servant. Tlaib doesn’t back down when someone is harmed or needs their government to work for them. Whether it was standing up to President Trump’s hate at the Detroit Economic Club — getting kicked out of the Trump rally for demanding that he read the Constitution — or winning fights with the Koch Brothers and Marathon Oil over storing toxic waste on our riverfront, she will always put people and community first.
Rep. Tlaib’s work in her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives has been phenomenal and elevated her to the national stage.
Kym Worthy (D) – Wayne County prosecutor
The first African American to serve as county prosecutor in Michigan, Worthy became internationally known for prosecuting former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in 2008. She has notably taken on massive projects to overhaul the county’s justice system, like clearing the backlog of unprocessed rape test kits in Detroit. She has also teamed up with Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud to restart their own investigation into the Flint water crisis.
Prosecutor Worthy is tough on crime, but is also fair and compassionate. She serves with integrity and transparency and has been recognized as one of the most respected prosecutors in the nation.
Worthy received national recognition for ensuring that thousands of abandoned rape kits are tested and thoroughly investigated.
She launched the first Conviction Integrity Unit in Michigan to ensure that those who are wrongfully convicted are exonerated. She is a tireless advocate for mental health and rehabilitative programs over incarceration.
Eric R. Sabree (D) – Wayne County Treasurer
Treasurer since 2016, Sabree is well-known for attempting to find novel solutions to Detroit’s tax foreclosure crisis, with foreclosures going down by 85 percent during his tenure. Sabree is also the chairman of the Wayne County Land Bank. A former lawyer, Sabree has had a long public service career in Detroit.
Sam Baydoun (D) – Wayne County commissioner — 13th District
Commissioner Sam Baydoun has called Dearborn and Wayne County home for the last 40 years. In his capacity as a Wayne County commissioner he serves on the committees on public services, economic development, ways and means, public safety, judiciary and homeland security, and the special committee on senior citizens and veterans affairs.
Baydoun looks forward to working with the rest of his colleagues on the commission to move Wayne County forward.
David M. Knezek, Jr. (D) – Wayne County commissioner – Eighth District
Knezek was appointed to the Commission in February, representing Dearborn Heights, Redford Township and part of Livonia. The former Marine Corps sergeant has served in both the Michigan House and Senate. He replaced Commissioner Diane Webb after her resignation.
Al Haidous (D) – Wayne County commissioner – 11th District
Al Haidous chairs the Committee on Economic Development and serves on the Committee on Public Services as well as being the commission’s representative to the Wayne County Airport Authority. He is also a member of the Special Committee on Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs.
Haidous was first elected in November 2014 to represent the Wayne County Commission’s 11th District, which covers the cities of Belleville, Romulus and Wayne; Huron, Sumpter and Van Buren townships and part of the city of Westland. Haidous had served previously as mayor of the city of Wayne from 2001 through 2014.
Abdullah Hammoud (D) – Michigan State Representative – District 15
The young Lebanese American political superstar is now in his third and final campaign for state representative. As in previous campaigns, Hammoud is running on a platform of better infrastructure, air and water protections, healthcare accessibility and education.
Abraham Aiyash (D) – Michigan State Representative – District Four
Running for a well-contested seat in a district that includes Hamtramck and some Detroit neighborhoods, the Yemeni American has obtained the endorsement of Bernie Sanders and other progressive-leaning Democrats. The office was left vacant after the untimely passing of popular State Rep. Isaac Robinson.
Aiyash looks to center working people’s interest and a democratic front against greed and corporate abuse, combined with the grassroots and community organizational approach that Robinson was known for.
Karen McDonald (D) – Oakland County prosecutor
McDonald has served as both Oakland County Circuit Court judge and as assistant prosecutor, prosecuting child sexual assault cases. She has gained endorsements from several prominent Democratic Party coalitions.
Daniel Cherrin (D) – Oakland County Commission — District 18
A former communications director for the city of Detroit, Cherrin once ran for state representative while he was a 21-year-old senior at the University of Michigan. Since then he has had a long career in public relations.
Mike Chehab (D) – Michigan State Representative – District 30
The grandson of a WWI veteran, attorney Chehab is running to represent a district that covers Utica and parts of Shelby Township and Sterling Heights. He is looking to bring fresh ideas and reform to a seat that has been controlled by the same family for some time.
Wayne County Third Circuit Court. Two open seats (non-incumbent):
Chandra Baker – Wayne County Circuit Court judge
At the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Baker runs the Wayne Arson Reduction Unit and was awarded Prosecutor of the Year 2017-2018 by the International Association of Arson Investigators. She has litigated felonies of all kinds for nearly 12 years.
Nicholas John Hathaway – Wayne County Circuit Court judge
The former Wayne County assistant prosecutor has obtained the endorsements of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, among others. He currently handles cases involving child abuse and neglect as a referee in Wayne County Circuit Court’s Family Division.
Hamtramck Public Schools bond proposal
Residents of Hamtramck will decide on a school bond proposal that will levy seven mills to secure a low-interest $35,265,000, 30-year bond for new construction and maintenance. The primary objective is the construction of a new, three-story elementary school that will replace portable classrooms used by hundreds of students outside the conjoined campus of Dickinson West Elementary and Kosciuszko Middle schools.
We know that this bond has created a rift in the community in Hamtramck and within its strong and vibrant Yemeni American population. While we recognize that higher taxes are a genuine area of concern for families and businesses, we think that this bond proposal, and the resulting benefits to Hamtramck schools, will truly work towards the greater benefit of that community.
A strong school system, with proper classrooms, temperature and ventilation systems, bathroom facilities and modernized education ensure these long-term benefits. Education is, of course, paramount for the intellectual and economic growth of our children. But if that’s not enough, consider this: Better school districts have shown time and time again to not only increase property values, but attract business and opportunity in cities nationwide.
Children deserve an equitable and just education, not be sent to temporary, caged, portable classrooms and face the elements instead of enjoying proper hallways and classrooms. We urge our Hamtramck readers to vote “yes” for this important initiative.