DEARBORN — On Thursday, members of the Arab American Political Action Committee (AAPAC) voted on several endorsements for various national and local candidates.
Formed in 1998 by a group of Arab American professionals, AAPAC is a non-partisan political organization that encourages Arab American participation in the political process and encourage Arab Americans to vote and run for public office, interviews candidates to discuss their platforms towards endorsement and lobbies on behalf of the Arab American causes.
The organization’s by-laws dictate that two thirds of present members must vote on candidates seeking endorsement. Endorsements occur after thorough discussions, research and interviews.
AAPAC carried out some of those interviews this week. Not every endorsement is preceded by an interview, especially if the candidate has previously interviewed with the organization, has an open line of communication with the community or has an established record of public service.
An AAPAC vote for the U.S. senate race in the state of Michigan is scheduled for this weekend.
AAPAC President Mona Fadlallah said Thursday’s virtual endorsement meeting was lively and passionate, as usual.
“The (meeting) was reflective of what’s going on in the country in terms of people really looking for change, holding elected leaders accountable for whatever deficiencies they may have and wanting to move things forward in the right direction,” Fadlallah said.
Fadlallah said AAPAC members are diverse in ideas and the organization seldom sees a uniform vote. The process, Fadlallah emphasized, remains thoroughly democratic.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign reached out to AAPAC through surrogates several times since Biden effectively clenched the Democratic candidacy for president. President Trump’s campaign did not seek an endorsement from the organization.
AAPAC plans to mail out an endorsement slate to inform the community of its chosen candidates in the coming days.
A discussion over Dearborn School Board candidates brought some concerns over the handling of elections in Dearborn City Hall, concerns articulated by AAPAC member Hussein Dabajeh.
An article with details about the school board election ballot issue appears in this issue of The Arab American News.
“When sample ballots came out, a fourth name popped up (in the two-year term race between three candidates),” Dabajeh said. “It’s someone I have the utmost respect for, Maali Luqman, who was actually originally running for the six-year term.
“I don’t believe he was very clear when we called him,” Dabajeh added, referring to Dearborn City Clerk George Darany. “He ended up saying Maali accidentally applied for the two-year term, so the county clerk made the city change the ballot. The clerk should have then notified the candidates running, so that they know that there’s an update to the field.”
Dabajeh said errors during elections is not a new occurrence and is in fact symptomatic of repeated mishandling of the election process at the Dearborn City Clerk’s office.
AAPAC’s November 2020 endorsements
U.S. President — Biden-Harris
Michigan Supreme Court
Justice Bridget Mary McCormack
Wayne County Prosecutor — Kym Worthy
Oakland County Prosecutor — Karen McDonald
Wayne County Commissioner – 13th District — Sam Baydoun
Wayne County Commissioner – Eighth District — David M. Knezek, Jr.
Michigan State Representative – District 15 — Abdullah Hammoud
Michigan State Representative – District 4 (full and partial term) — Abraham Aiyash
Michigan State Representative – District 30 — Mike Chehab
U.S. Representative – District 12 — Debbie Dingell
U.S. Representative – District 13 — Rashida Tlaib
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge — two open seats (Non-Incumbent)
Nicholas John Hathaway
Oakland County Executive — Dave Coulter
City of Dearborn Heights Treasurer — Robert Constan
Crestwood School Board — two open seats
Wayne County Treasurer — Eric R. Sabree
28th District Court Judge — Elisabeth Mullins
MSU Board of Trustees — Brian Mosallam
Dearborn School Board — three seats for six-year term
One seat for two-year term