DEARBORN HEIGHTS ― As the April 25 filing deadline for municipal elections draws near, dozens of candidates have thrown their hats in the ring to compete for available city positions.
Dearborn Heights is facing shifting demographics, reflecting that of its neighbor, Dearborn, where nearly half of the 22 candidates for city positions are Arab Americans and where the highest concentration of that community resides.
So far, 23 individuals have expressed interest in running for election or reelection to the offices of mayor, treasurer, city clerk and Dearborn Heights City Council, according to Dearborn Heights city documents obtained by The AANews. Six of them are Arab Americans, the highest number of Arab American candidates in an election in the city. All six are competing for the four available City Council positions.
While that hardly compares to Dearborn’s numbers, it marks a significant change from the 2009 election, when only a single Arab American candidate ran for City Council.
The candidates are Bill Bazzi, Dana Mohammad, Houssain Mallad, Ali Berry, Mohamad Baydoun and incumbent Councilman Tom Berry, who is running for reelection.
Berry and Councilman Dave Abdallah, who was elected in 2015, are currently the only Arab Americans on the City Council.
Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton and retired city police officer Ed Garcia aim to replace current Mayor Dan Paletko, who is also seeking reelection.
At press time, both mayoral contenders have submitted the required petition with 100 signatures at the City Clerk’s office; Paletko has not yet filed.
To date, a total of 18 candidates are competing for the four City Council seats, three of whom have submitted their petitions. Bazzi was one of the three.
Dearborn Heights City Clerk Walter Prusiewicz and Treasurer John Riley II, who are both seeking reelection, have also submitted their petitions.